ETF Preview: Broad Market ETFs Mixed; Gold and Silver Funds Falling Pre-Market
Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY ): -0.17%, near 52-week highs
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.54%
Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ): -3.5%
iPath S&P VIX Short Term Futures ( VXX ) -0.5%
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ): -0.39%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are mixed pre-market. SPY and IVV both set new 52-week highs on Thursday. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is down 0.3%.
U.S. stock futures are slightly weaker after Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard seemed to contradict earlier indications from the Federal Reserve that a tapering of its economic stimulus program wasn't imminent. Bullard said a "small taper" is possible in October. Expectations for continuing stimulus sent the S&P 500 to a record on Wednesday, weakening the U.S. dollar and in turn pushing gold and silver sharply higher. Both gold and silver are dropping today, along with sector ETFs.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is down 0.48%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is down 0.43%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ is also slightly lower.
Among financial stocks, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has raised 630 million pounds ($1 billion) by selling a 20% stake in motor insurer Direct Line, Reuters reported. European regulators told RBS to sell off all of Direct Line before the end of 2014 as a penalty for its 2008 bailout from U.K. taxpayers, which left the government holding 81% of the lender, Reuters said. RBS is unchanged pre-market.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was flat, but remains near its 52-week top, while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was flat after touching a 52-week top of $85.74 yesterday.
In sector news, Walter Energy, Inc. (WLT) increased the size of its previously announced offering of $350 million aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes due 2019 to $450 million with a coupon of 9.500% per annum. The company will pay interest on the Notes on April 15 and October 15 of each year, beginning on April 15, 2014. Walter dipped 1.5% pre-bell.
Crude was down 0.76%, and United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.26%. Natural gas was down 0.66%, and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is unchanged.
Gold is down 1.5% after sharp gains Thursday. The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 1% pre-market. Silver was down 3.1%, also giving up some of Thursday's gains; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 2.34%.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) and other consumer ETFs Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) are flat after edging lower on Thursday.
In sector news, Darden Restaurants (DRI) fell more than 3% in pre-market trading after saying its fiscal Q1 earnings fell 38% to $0.53 from $0.85 the year earlier, also missing the $0.71 average Capital IQ analyst estimate. Sales rose 6.1% to $2.16 billion largely in line with the consensus estimate for sales of $2.2 billion. Darden is down 4.6% pre-market.
Health Care SPDR (XLV) is down 0.71% after setting a new 52-week high of $52.19 on Thursday. Vanguard Health Care ETF's (VHT) and, iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) are unchanged. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is also flat. All are trading at, or near 52-week highs.
In corporate news, Prosensa (RNA) fell as much as 75% to $5.99 in pre-market trading after it and its partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said the phase III clinical study of drisapersen for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy didn't meet the primary endpoint of a statistically significant improvement in the 6 minute walking distance test compared to placebo.
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) is down 0.48% pre-bell, iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW); iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) and iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) are all unchanged after hitting 52-week tops yesterday. IGM set a high of $81.20 on Thursday, IYW's new high was $80.17, IGV's was $77.97.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) and SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) are all quiet so far.
In sector news, Shutterstock Inc. (SSTK) has priced its follow-on offering of 4.6 million shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $60.00 per share. The company is selling 1 million shares and certain existing stockholders are selling 3.6 million shares in this offering. Shutterstock is up 1.4% this morning.