Mid-Day ETF Update: ETF, Stocks Falter as Disappointing Best Buy Results Cloud Sentiment
Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at Thursday regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.21%, but still near its all-time high.
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.58%.
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ): -0.61%, near its five-year high
iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): -0.02%, but earlier touched fresh all time highs
PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.01%, but still near its 13-year highs.
Broad Market Indicators
Most broad market exchange-traded funds were edging lower, but many were still near the record or multi-year highs they reached in Wednesday's session. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was weaker, but was still near its 13-year high of $88.49.
U.S. stocks were also slipping into the red at session's half after Best Buy's (BBY) disappointing earnings report cast a gloom on market sentiment. In economic data, consumer prices in December rose 0.3%, as expected, while core CPI was up 0.1% - a little below forecasts. Meanwhile, homebuilder confidence dipped in January to a reading of 56, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo's housing-market index. This, however, still indicated that builders are optimistic about sales trends. Finally, weekly jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 326,000 - the lowest level in six weeks.
Power Play: Healthcare
Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were all firmer, outpacing the broader market and reaching fresh record highs. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.72% and also reached an all-time high.
In corporate news, Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc. (SRPT) was up 33.48% after it announced that data through Week 120 from Study 202, a Phase IIb open-label extension study of eteplirsen in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has showed a continued stabilization of walking ability in eteplirsen-treated patients evaluable on the 6-minute walk test (6MWT). As previously reported, Study 202 met its primary endpoint of increased novel dystrophin as assessed by muscle biopsy at Week 48 and is now in the long-term extension phase in which patients continue to be followed for safety and clinical outcomes, the company said.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 0.61%, but still near its highest level since May 2008. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 1.55%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 1.54% and was near an all-time low.
Among financial stocks, Citigroup (C) was down 4.2% after it reported Q4 net income of $0.85 per share, or $2.7 billion, up from $0.38 per share, or $1.2 billion last year. Revenue was $17.8 billion, slightly lower than the $17.9 billion recorded last year. Excluding CVA/DVA, Q4 revenues were $17.9 billion, down 2% from the prior year period. Excluding CVA/DVA, the impact of the Credicard divestiture in Q4 2013 and the Q4 2012 repositioning charge, earnings were $0.82 per diluted share, up 19% from the prior year period. The analyst consensus on Capital IQ called for earnings, excluding items, of $0.98 per share on revenue of $18.17 billion.
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.08%. Likewise, iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) were weaker, but still trading at the higher end of their 52-week highs. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was up 0.57%.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were weaker.
In stocks news, Tessera Technologies (TSRA) was down some 8% after it said it is restructuring its DigitalOptics business to cease its remaining manufacturing operations and refocus efforts on monetizing DigitalOptics technologies, including solutions for imaging and MEMS technologies. TSRA expects to take restructuring, impairment and other exit charges of $50 million - $55 million, with 75% of that charge in Q4 2013 and the remainder in the first half of 2014. As a result of the restructuring, the company expects its quarterly DigitalOptics related operating expenses to be reduced by $17 million, realized in full by Q3 2014.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.24%, and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.24%.
In corporate news, shares in electric-power company NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE) were up 0.28% after it said its Mountain View Solar LLC subsidiary has begun commercial operation of its Mountain View Solar Energy Project. The 20-megawatt solar photovoltaic project is located on 146 acres in the Mountain View Industrial Park in North Las Vegas, the company said. All power generated by the project is being provided to NV Energy customers under a long-term power purchase agreement.
Crude was down 0.21%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.47%. Natural gas was up 3.02%, near its 52-week high and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2.89%.
Gold was up 0.23% and silver was down 0.12%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.05%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.15%.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.02% while other consumer ETFs Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were lower.
Among retail ETFs, SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) and PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) were in the negative territory; Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) was down 0.77% but earlier hit a new 52-week high.
In stocks news, Helen of Troy (HELE) was up about 7% to a new all-time high following the houseware distributor's announcement on Wednesday that Julien Mininberg will succeed Gerald Rubin as CEO. Mininberg was until recently the president and CEO of Helen of Troy's health-care and home environment segment. He will take over the CEO role on March 1. Rubin announced his resignation to serve as CEO of River Oaks Properties.