Mid-Day ETF Report: ETFs, Stocks Continue Four-Week Positive Streak on Upbeat Economic Data
Active broad market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.46%, near its 52-week high
Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.89%, with a new 52-week high
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ( VXX ) -1.51%, near its 52-week low
iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): +1.22%, ear its 52-week high
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.15%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, were firmer at mid-day trade. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.45%.
U.S. stocks were firmer at the midsession, continuing a four weeks of gains, as riding on upbeat economic data reported earlier. The Conference Board reported that the leading economic index rebounded in April from a downwardly revised reading in March. Meanwhile, the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters reported that the consumer sentiment index increased in April, beating estimates. Consumer sentiment also showed an upbeat reading for the month of May - its highest level in six years.
Winners and Losers
Among Tech ETFs , Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 0.5%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.42%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) up 0.78%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) up 0.24%.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 1.21% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.95%, nearing its 52-week high.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.
In sector news, Aruba Networks (ARUN) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform and removing its $23 price target. ARUN was plunging 27% after it reported Q3 EPS of $0.11 on revenues of $147.1 million, versus Cap IQ consensus of $0.12 on $146 million in revenues.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.78%, hitting a new 52-week high of $46.48; and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.88%, also with a new 52-week high of $81.78.
In sector news, Emerald Oil (EOX) was down 3.02% after announcing it has priced an underwritten public offering of 12 million shares at $6.10 per share. The company granted underwriters a 30 day option to purchase up to an additional 1.8 million stock. The company intends to use the net proceeds, along with cash on hand and the proceeds from its recently announced private placement with White Deer Energy, cash flow from operations, proceeds from the sale of assets and additional borrowings under the credit facility, to fund its capital budget in 2013.
Crude was up 0.24%; July natural gas was up 0.53%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.74%, United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.56%.
Gold was down 1.76% and silver was flat. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 1.69%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 1.73%, with a new 52-week low of $21.48.
Consumer ETFs were weaker: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) down 0.33%; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), down 0.04%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.30%.
In sector news, JC Penney (JCP) was down 2.93%, trimming earlier losses of some 5%, after the company reported late Thursday Q1 results that were lower than the Street's expectations. JCP posted a Q1 adjusted loss of $1.31 per share, wider than consensus for a $0.89 loss and sales were $2.64 billion vs estimates of $2.74 billion.
Healthcare ETFs were lower: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.02%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), off 0.07%, and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down 0.14%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.17%.
In corporate news, SciClone (SCLN) joins with Zensun Science and Technology for exclusive rights in China, Hong Kong and Macau for Neucardin. The company projects Q1 sales of $29.8 million, which is off estimates of $33.6 million. It reports EPS of $0.07 versus the Street's view of $0.09. SCLn shares were down 2.21%.
Power Play -
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.89%, with a new 52-week high of $19.91. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 2.72%, with a new 52-week high of $69.50. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 2.60%, with a new 52-week low of $32.06.
Among financial news, UBS (UBS) upgraded U.S. Banks to Overweight from Neutral, based on improvements in housing, loan growth, and asset quality coupled with a growing yield. Furthermore, the analyst is upgrading Europe banks to Neutral from Underweight, and within the Euro-area, prefers Scandinavia and the UK Region. Separately, UBS is downgrading Japanese and Canadian banks, both to Neutral from Overweight. The Japan downgrade is a result of a less attractive risk/reward ratio.
In Canada, while the analyst believes that banks are well-capitalized, the companies are also fairly valued and thus, have less upside potential. As a result of these regional changes, UBS added the U.S. bank, Fifth Third (FITB), and the European bank, Swedbank AB (SWEDA SS), to its Global Top 40 List. UBS also added TD Bank Financial Group (TD CN) in Canada and RBS Group (RBS LN) in the UK.