Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Mixed As Weak Consumer Sentiment Data Overshadows Upbeat Jobs Data

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Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.18%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.57%


iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): FLAT

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.73%

iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): -0.04%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are mixed. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is down 0.7%.

U.S. stocks have returned to trading flat with earlier gains dissolving after the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters preliminary consumer sentiment index for December showed a decline to 74.5 from 82.7 in November. Stocks ticked higher earlier on upbeat employment data: the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7% -- its lowest level since December 2008, and better than forecasts. In November, nonfarm payrolls added 146,000 jobs while nonfarm private payrolls added 147,000. Hourly wages rose 0.2%, above expectations, while the average workweek was reported at 34.4, meeting economists' forecasts. Markets largely shrugged off the latest comments of House Speaker John Boehner about the ongoing budget talks, likely signaling that investors are not expecting progress at this point.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is up 0.6% and nearer to 52 week highs. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 1.1%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 1.1% and nearer to 52 week lows.

Among financial stocks, American International Group Inc. (AIG) is now up nearly 2% following a Bloomberg report that a group led by New China Trust Co. and its chairman Weng Xianding is in talks to buy a controlling stake in AIG's aircraft-leasing unit. The report says that the group, which includes China Aviation Industry Fund and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., is bidding for International Lease Finance Corp. together with ILFC's management. A deal may value ILFC at about $5.5 billion, the report added.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 0.37% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is up 0.39%.

In sector news, Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) is now up 0.3%, recovering earlier losses, after the company and Rosneft have signed a pilot development agreement, establishing a joint project to assess the possibility of commercial production of tight oil reserves at the Bazhenov and Achimov formations in Western Siberia. The companies will set up a joint venture to run a pilot program and potential commercial production with equity interests of 51% for Rosneft and 49% for ExxonMobil. Work will be carried out at Rosneft's 23 license blocks covering a total area more than 10,000 square kilometers.

Commodities -

Crude was down 0.02%; likewise, natural gas was down 1.69%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.4%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is down 1.3%.

Gold was up 0.03%; silver was down 0.21%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.36%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is now up 0.22%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are mostly higher: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.2%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), now up 0.01%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.13%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is down 0.66%.

In corporate news, Amarin Corporation plc (AMRN) is down 18.5% as it announced a $100 million non-equity financing with an investment fund managed by Pharmakon Advisors, and that the company is continuing its preparations to commercialize Vascepa capsules with the hiring of a sales force in the United States. Payments by Amarin under this hybrid debt-like instrument are expected to be made over a 3.5-year period commencing in November 2013 and to continue through early 2017.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are firmer: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.64% and closer to 52 week highs; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.4% and also closer to 52 week highs; Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.5%.

Retail ETFs: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), down 0.05% but above day lows; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), now positive; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), down 0.07%, but earlier reached a new year high of $45.54.

In sector news, Dole Food Company, Inc. (DOLE) is up 1.7% after it announced the stockholder approval of the sale of its worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh businesses to ITOCHU Corporation for $1.685 billion in cash.

Power Play -

Technology -

Tech ETFs are mostly lower: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), down 0.7%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), also down 0.7%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), now down 0.4%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 0.1%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is down 0.4% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is down 0.1%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is up 0.19%.

In sector news, Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (CMTL) is down near 6%, having earlier hit a new year low after reporting in Thursday's after-hours trading its fiscal Q1 earnings.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: EEM , IWM , QQQ , SPY , XLF

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As of 12/26/2014, 04:15 PM


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