Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Track Stocks Higher as Jobless Claims Decline to Lowest Level Since February; Financials Lead Rally

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.46%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.94%, nearer year highs

iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): +0.57%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +1.29%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.04%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is up 0.04%.

U.S. stocks continue to edge higher, with the financial sector leading the rally ahead of the Q3 earnings report of JP Morgan (JPM) on Friday. Earlier, investors cheered the Labor Department's report that first-time jobless claims fell to 339,000, the lowest level since mid-February. According to the Market Watch consensus, economists had expected for claims to increase 1,000 to 368,000. The markets have more or less shrugged off the Commerce Department's report that the U.S. trade gap widened to $44.2 bln in August, close to the forecast of $44 bln, due to a decline in exports.

Winners and Losers

Technology -

Tech ETFs are edging higher: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.13%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.03%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.44%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.52%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 0.63% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is up 0.72%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is up 0.77%.

In sector news, Clearwire (CLWR) is up nearly 40% following a report that Sprint (S) and Japanese mobile carrier Softbank Corp are in talks whereby Softbank will buy more than two-thirds of the U.S.-based telecoms company in a deal worth at least $12.8 billion. Sprint is a major investor in Clearwire. S shares are up 13.5% and have hit year highs.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 1.3%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is up 1.3%.

In sector news, Chesapeake Energy (CHK) is up more than 4% after late Wednesday completing the sale of a 25% stake in Glass Mountain Pipeline LLC to SemGroup Corp (SEMG) and Gavilon LLC. The deal increases SEMG's and Gavilon's stakes in the pipeline to 50% each. Financial terms of the transaction were not immediately disclosed. SEMG shares are up 3.5% and have hit year highs.

Commodities -

Crude was inching higher as tension in Turkey and Syria continue to escalate, while natural gas gained strength following inventory data. Crude was up 0.87% while natural gas was up 3.28%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.2%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is up 3%.

Gold and silver for December delivery were higher, up 0.33% and 0.15% respectively. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.4%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.3%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are higher: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.45%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), up 0.6%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.5%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB), up 0.9%.

In corporate news, Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD) is up 7% after it posted additional positive preliminary results from an ongoing Phase 2 open-label drug-drug interaction study (Study 010) to evaluate the safety and plasma pharmacokinetic (PK) effects of the pharmacological chaperone AT2220 (duvoglustat HCl) co-administered with enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) for Pompe disease (Myozyme and Lumizyme). These Phase 2 results were presented in a poster at the 17th International World Muscle Society Congress in Perth, Australia. The company also announced initial findings from ex vivo studies to characterize the immunogenicity of Myozyme and Lumizyme with and without AT2220.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are mixed: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), has turned positive and is now up 0.08% and closer to year highs; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.25%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), which is now up 0.01%.

Retail ETFs are mixed: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), up 0.26%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), up 0.08%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), down 0.16%, having earlier hit year highs.

In sector news, Oshkosh (OSK) is up 11.5%, touching a new 52-week high of $31.30 after Carl Icahn offered $32.50 per share for the specialty vehicle company.

Power Play -

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is up 0.9% and nearer year highs. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 2.5%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 2.5% and nearer year lows.

Among financial stocks, Mission West Properties (MSW) is up 3.5%, with shares rising 25 cents to $8.65 each after the real estate investment trust reported late Wednesday Q3 funds from operations of $0.14 a share, up from $0.13 a share during the same period last year. Net income available to common stockholders was $0.13 a share, $0.05 better than the same three months last year. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were expecting EPS of $0.07 although it was not clear whether that was comparable to the Q3 results.

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

Copyright (C) 2016 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities
Referenced Symbols: EEM , IWM , QQQ , SPY , XLF

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