Mid-Day ETF Update: Broad Market ETF's Flat to Slightly Firmer as Weak Data Curbs Enthusiasm
Active broad market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.06%
iShares S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ( VXX ): -0.11%
iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund ( EWJ ) -1%
iShares Russell 2000 ( IWM ): +0.20%
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.18%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, were flat to slightly higher at mid-day trade. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.45%.
U.S. stocks were flat to slightly firmer at the midsession as weaker-than-expected economic data curbed investor enthusiasm that took the S&P 500 to another record on Wednesday. Weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rose to a seasonally adjusted 360,000 - it's highest level in six weeks. Economists had expected claims to rise to 330,000 from a revised 328,000 in the prior week, according to a poll by MarketWatch. Meanwhile, in housing data, housing starts declined 16.5% in April to 853,000, versus the expectations of housing starts to fall 970,000. Home under construction grew by 1.9% to 605,000 in April.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was flat. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.13%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 0.12%.
Among financial stocks, Atlantic Coast Financial Corporation (ACFC), the holding company for Atlantic Coast Bank, announced in a letter to stockholders that stockholder approval of the proposed merger of Atlantic Coast Financial with Bond Street Holdings was critical to assuring attractive value for a stockholder's investment in the company. Under the proposed merger, Atlantic Coast Financial stockholders will receive $5.00 per share in cash for each common share owned.
In the letter, Atlantic Coast Financial warned stockholders that if the proposed merger agreement was not approved, the entire value of a stockholder's investment in Atlantic Coast Financial could be placed at high risk. That was because a viable future for Atlantic Coast Financial was uncertain absent the completion of the proposed merger as indicated by the "going concern" disclosures issued with the Company's financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2012. The shares were up 0.9%.
Tech ETFs Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 1%, iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) is gaining 1.47%, iShares, S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) is up 1% and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) has risen 0.99%.
Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were showing modest gains.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was down 0.2%.
In sector news, Google (GOOG) was down 0.9% at $907.59 after hitting a new 52-week high of $919.98 earlier today. The stock pierced $900 per share yesterday. Google's annual I/O conference was held yesterday in San Francisco.
Cisco Systems (CSCO) was up 12% hitting a 52-week high of $24.24 after reporting Q1 earnings that topped expectations.
Power Play - S&P North American Technology-Multimedia Networking Index Fund (IGN) and NASDAQ Technology Dividend Index Fund (TDIV) have among the biggest weighting of Cisco stock. They were up 2.8% and 1.5% respectively.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is down 0.11% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) have slipped 0.16%.
In sector news, Diamondback Energy (FANG) was up 3.4%, pushing past its 52-week high, after it reports the pricing of an underwritten public offering of 4.5 million shares of its common stock at a price of $29.25 per share. The 4.5 million share offering represents a 500,000 share upsize to the originally proposed 4 million share offering.
June crude was up 0.9%; July natural gas was down 3%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.89%, United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 2.44%.
June gold was down 0.57% and silver for July delivery was flat. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.44%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.45%.
Among stocks, Seabridge Gold, Inc. (SA) was up 0.3% after it reported that the first round of metallurgical tests on material from the new Walsh Lake deposit at its 100%-owned Courageous Lake project confirm high gold recoveries from conventional, direct ore cyanidation. Seabridge Chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk said the results of the metallurgical tests were "highly favorable" for potential exploitation of the Walsh Lake deposit.
Consumer ETFs Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was lower, iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) was modestly higher, and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) was also trading lower.
In sector news, Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc. (PBH) was down 6%, coming off a 52-week high of $35.21 set earlier, after it reported fourth quarter non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.36, compared to consensus estimate of $0.35. Revenues for the quarter came in at $154.5 million, an increase of $20.5 million, or 15.3%, above the prior year comparable quarter's revenues of $134 million. Analysts expected revenues of $157.8 million
Healthcare ETFs Health Care SPDR (XLV) was down 0.87%, Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) was off 0.83%, and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) was down 0.96%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) has lost 2%.
In corporate news, Response Genetics (RGDX) was surging 11% after it announced it has entered into an agreement with health insurer Blue Shield of California to join all of Blue Shield of California's provider networks. It said the agreement marked Response Genetics' first Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated contract and would offer Blue Shield of California's membership access to Response Genetics' portfolio of predictive genetic testing.
Response Genetics' specialization focuses on the linkage between the genetic profile of an individual cancer patient's tumor and various drugs that may be used to fight that cancer. This partnership between Blue Shield of California and Response Genetics will enhance Blue Shield of California members' access to personalized medicine.