Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Remain Positive; Dow Pushes Past Record High Ahead of Fed Statement, Outlook

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.54%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -4.54%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.72%, near its 52-week high

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.69%

iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): +0.61%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, continued to be modestly firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.64%.

U.S. stocks extended earlier gains, with the Dow inching above its previous record closing top of 14,539.14, but has now pulled back. Market sentiment was upbeat, shrugging off weakness from concerns over the Cyprus bailout deal, as focus has shifted to the closing of the Federal Reserve's two-day interest-rate meeting.

Investors are looking ahead to the Fed's policy statement and outlook for the economy, to be released Wednesday 2 pm ET. The Fed is not expected to ease up on its interest rate policy; economists are also hopeful for a more optimistic outlook for the U.S. economy in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Winners and Losers

Technology -

Tech ETFs were in the green at mid-day: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.33%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.42%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.60%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.84%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 1.04% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.96%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.

In sector news, Suntech Power (STP) was down 38.57% after a Benzinga.com report, citing Xinhua, that the company declared bankruptcy.

Industrial -

Industrial ETFs were in positive territory: Vanguard Industrials (VIS), up 0.21%; and iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), up 0.13%, with a new 52-week high of $82.35. Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI) was flat.

Among stocks, Lennar (LEN) continued to gain, and was up 4.78% mid-day after it reported Q1 earnings of $0.26 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.16. Revenues were $989.95 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $932.99 mln.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.29% while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.23%.

In sector news, Ivanhoe Energy (IVAN) jumped 12.68% after it said it has signed a global strategic alliance with SBM Offshore, an engineering and platform designs provider focusing on the development of marginally economic offshore projects. Under the partnership, the two companies will combine their respective technologies and experience to produce a first of its kind design for offshore facilities that will economically produce and upgrade heavy oil from offshore fields with crude oil quality down to 10 degree API gravity, or lower.

Commodities -

Crude was up 0.25%; natural gas was down 0.48%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.39%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.32%.

Gold was down 0.33% and silver was down 0.27%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.37%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.25%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs were firmer: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.70%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), up 0.82%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.75%, with a new 52-week high of $94.52. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.73%.

In corporate news, Obagi Medical (OMPI) climbed 28.01%, hitting a new 52-week high of $19.27, after Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) said it has entered into a definitive agreement under which Valeant will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Obagi Medical for $19.75 per share in cash, which represents a 28% premium to Obagi's closing share price yesterday.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2013 and Valeant expects the transaction to be immediately accretive to Valeant's cash earnings per share. The combination is expected to yield cost synergies at an annual run rate of at least $40 million within six months of closing. VRX shares were up 2.66%, with a new 52-week high of $74.67.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs were higher at mid-day: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.84%, with a new 52-week high of $39.04; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.75%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.95%, with a new 52-week high of $98.71.

In sector news, The Hershey Co. (HSY) edged up 0.27%, hitting a new 52-week high of $86.01, after the company's management reaffirmed 2013 targets in a presentation to investors. The company sees full-year diluted EPS of between $3.56 - $3.63. Analysts polled by Capital IQ are expecting EPS of $3.63.

Power Play -

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.72%, nearing its 52-week high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.91%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 1.86%, nearing its 52-week low.

Among financial stocks, Freddie Mac has sued Bank of America (BAC), UBS AG (UBS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and a dozen other banks over alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, reports Bloomberg News. The suit says that the mortgage financier suffered substantial losses as a result of the companies' conduct.

According to the report, the complaint lists 15 banks as defendants as well as the British Bankers' Association. They include Citigroup Inc. (C), Barclays (BCS), Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS), the Royal Bank of Canada (RY), Deutsche Bank (DB) and Credit Suisse Group AG. (CS).

Despite the lawsuit, active financial stocks were higher at mid-day: BAC, was up 1.09% and neared its 52-week high; UBS, up 0.45%; JPM, up 0.16%; C, up 1.35%; RBS, up 2.48%; RY, up 0.51%; DB, up 0.91%; CS, up 0.07%.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: EEM , EWJ , SPY , VXX , XLF

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