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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Reverse, Now Weaker; Stocks Higher on Upbeat Earnings, Optimism with Debt-Ceiling Vote

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 1/23/2013 1:12:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: EEM;EWJ;QQQ;SPY;VXX

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

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY ): +0.24%, with a new 52-week high of $148.68

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.74%

iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): -0.87%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ( VXX ): -1.71%, with a new 52-week low of $23.52

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.58%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, have reversed and are slipping lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is up 0.58%.

U.S. stocks are inching higher, lifted by upbeat earnings from Google (GOOG), IBM (IBM), McDonald's (MCD) and Intuitive Surgical (ISRG); Apple (AAPL) is also set to report its results in Wednesday's after hours.

Investors are increasingly optimistic that the U.S. Congress will vote to extend the debt ceiling, on the expectation that the government will not risk disrupting the upside movement in the markets since the start of the new year. Also helping brighten market sentiment, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that the U.S. housing price index increased by 0.6% in November.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) is down 0.14%, near its 52-week high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is down 0.0.45%, also near its 52-week high. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is up 0.47%, just above its 52-week low.

Among financial stocks, First Midwest Bancorp Inc. (FMBI), the holding company of First Midwest Bank, is down 3.66% but near its 52-week high. The company reported Q4 EPS of $0.18, an improvement over EPS of $0.05 for Q4 2011, but below estimates of $0.19 per share. For the full year of 2012, FMBI reported a net loss of $0.28 per share, compared to earnings of $0.35 per share for the year ended December 31, 2011. Full-year earnings beat estimates of a loss of $0.27 per share.

Industrial -

Industrial ETFs are lower, but have mostly touched new 52-week highs: Vanguard Industrials (VIS), off 0.21%, but with a new 52-week high of $75.47; iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), down 0.21% also with a new 52-week high of $77.50; and Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI), up 0.26%, but near its 52-week high.

Among stocks, General Dynamics (GD) is down 1.95% after it announced 2012 Q4 and FY results. In Q4, GD reported non-GAAP EPS of $1.39 per share, fully diluted, on revenues of $8.1 billion. According to Yahoo Finance, analysts were expecting EPS of $1.88 on revenues of $8.80 billion. For the full-year, GD earned $6.48 per share fully diluted. FY revenues were $31.5 billion. Analysts had pegged the FY EPS at $6.95 and revenues at $32.23 billion.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 1.27% while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is down 0.50%.

In sector news, RPC. Inc. (RES) is up 4.53% nearing its 52-week high, after the company reported Q4 earnings of $0.26 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.24. Revenues were $469.94 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $457.85 mln. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $0.34 on revenues of $482.78 mln.

Commodities -

Crude was down 0.24%; natural gas was down 0.25%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.31%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is up 0.05%.

Gold was down 0.29% and silver was up 0.52%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.13%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.42%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are lower but mostly in the higher end of their 52-week ranges: Health Care SPDR (XLV), off 0.24%, but with a new 52-week high of $42.43; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.26%, also with a new 52-week high of $76.42; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down 0.33%, testing its 52-week high. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is down 0.28%.

In M&A news, Allergan, Inc. (AGN) has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of biopharmaceutical company MAP Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (MAPP) for a price of $25 per share. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, will be accomplished pursuant to a cash tender offer followed by a second step merger. AGN is down 1.28% but touched a 52-week high $106.40. MAPP is surging 58.66% and reached a new 52-week high of $24.77.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are slipping lower: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), down 0.11%, near the 52-week high; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), down 0.33%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.14%.

Retail ETFs are weaker: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), down 0.02%, with a new 52-week high of $65.69; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), down 0.11%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), down 0.11 but earlier reached a new 52-week high of $45.80.

In sector news, Unilever (UL) is up 2.36% and touched a new 52-week high of $40.15 after the company reported FY12 earnings of EUR 1.54 per share, up 5% from EUR 1.46 per share in the previous year. The company reported underlying revenue growth of 6.9%. The turnover for the full year was EUR 51.3 bln.

Power Play -

Technology -

The tech sector continues to rally on the back of strong earnings results from tech giants Google (GOOG) and IBM (IBM). Apple (AAPL) is also scheduled to report its results in today's after hours session.

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) is up 1%; other tech ETFs area also higher: iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 1.29%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 1.26%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 1.01%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 0.53% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is up 0.47%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is up 0.33%, nearing its 52-week high.

Among top gainers following earnings, Google (GOOG) continues to tick higher, now up 6.48%. The tech giant posted Q4 revenue of $14.4 bln, or $15.24 bln if Motorola Home was included. The analyst consensus was for revenue of $15.38 bln, according to Capital IQ. Non-GAAP EPS was $10.65 per share, vs. expectations of $10.56 per share.