Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Slip Into Negative - Syria Back in Focus, Investors Already Awaiting FOMC Meeting

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Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's regular session:

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY ): -0.2%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -1%

Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ): -4.3%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ( VXX ): +0.5%, near 52 week lows

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ): -0.5% from near 52 week highs

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, extended losses into the session's half. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is flat, but near its 52-week highs.

U.S. stocks were also mostly weaker, with the initial cheer following the report that weekly jobless claims fell to their lowest level since April 2006 dissipating. Analysts observed that the data could have been skewed by computer glitches. Syria is back in focus as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held discussions with the foreign minister of Russia regarding Syria's surrender of its chemical weapons. Investors are also already looking ahead to the Federal Open Markets Committee meeting next week.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 0.6% from near 52 week highs. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 1.35%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 1.4%.

Among financial stocks, Sterling Financial (STSA) was up near 9%, approaching 52-week highs, after the bank agreed to be bought by Umpqua Holdings Corp (UMPQ) for $2 billion in cash and stock. Sterling shareholders will receive 1.671 shares of Umpqua and $2.18 in cash for each share of Sterling common stock they hold. That's worth $30.52 based on Umpqua's closing price of $16.96 on Wednesday, when the deal was announced. UMPQ shares were down 3%.

Technology -

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 0.2%, just below its 52-week high; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) was slightly up; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) was slightly lower after hitting a new 52 week high; as was the iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), but it earlier went very close to 52-week highs.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were weaker, but still at the higher end of their 52-week ranges. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was up 0.58%, also near 52 week highs.

In sector news, Extreme Networks (EXTR) was up 10% and earlier reached new 52-week high of $4.66 after saying it is acquiring privately held Enterasys Networks for $180 million in cash.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.54%, but touched a new 52-week high of $47.83. Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) also hit a new 52-week high of $84.57, but was down 0.4% at last check.

In sector news, Weatherford International (WFT) was down 5% after the oilfield services company disclosed in a regulatory filing late Wednesday it has agreed to sell a 38.5% equity interest in Borets International Ltd to Tangent Fund Ltd, its joint partner in Borets, for around $400 million. The company also disclosed that its CFO, John H. Briscoe, will be departing the company to pursue other opportunities effective Sept. 12, 2013.

Commodities -

Crude was up 1.26%, and United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 1.1%.

Natural gas was up 2.11%, and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2.25% following the natural gas inventories data. The EIA reported that inventories showed a build of 65 bcf versus expectations for a build of 65 - 66 bcf.

Gold was down 2.41%, but above session lows, and the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 2.4%. Silver was down 4.%, also up from the day's lows; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 4%.

Healthcare -

Health Care SPDR (XLV) has turned slightly up, nearer its 52-week highs; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) were also all now higher and also trading at the higher end of their 52-week ranges.

In corporate news, Insmed Inc. (INSM) was up 6.5% and reached a new 52-week high of $16.20 after it said late Wednesday that it has been awarded two new patents in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. patent for ARIKACE will provide exclusivity at least through December 5, 2026. The European patent allowance is in addition to the recent European Patent Office's EU patent No. 1909759 for ARIKACE that will provide exclusivity through at least July 19, 2026.

Power Play -

Consumer -

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.07% and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) was up 0.08%. iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), on the other hand, was down 0.13%.

SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) was down 1% but other retail ETFs were faring better: PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), up 0.03%, and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), up 0.02% after hitting a new year high of $55.08.

In sector news, lululemon (LULU) was down 4.5% but more than $2 above day lows after the company reported Q2 revenue of $344.5 mln, vs. the analyst consensus of $343.9 mln on Capital IQ. EPS was $0.39, vs. expectations of $0.35 per share. Despite the beat, the company guided Q3 and FY14 below Street expectations. Investors were also looking for more clarification regarding LULU's CEO succession and product issues, particularly the luon shortage.



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 , GDX , SPY , VXX , XLF

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