Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Continue to Log Gains But Off Session Highs, Brightened by Upbeat ADP Jobs, Factory Orders Data
Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.14%, with a new 52-week high of $154.92
iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): +0.72%, with a 52-week high of $10.48
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): +0.18%
Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.5%, with a new 52-week high of $18.09.
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.32%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, continued to be firmer but were off session highs. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.24%.
U.S. stocks were still in the green at session's half, extending their gains after the latest slate of upbeat economic data. January factory orders slipped 2%, but this was a much narrower decline versus the consensus. Earlier, sentiment was buoyed by the report that private sector employment in the U.S. added 198,000 private jobs, according to ADP data -- down from January's reading, but still topping the forecasts of 175,000 added jobs, according to a poll by MarketWatch. Still ahead, Federal Reserve's Beige Book is due out 2 pm ET.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.5%, with a new 52-week high of $18.09. Likewise, Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up around 1.07% to a new 52-week high of $158.25. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 0.98%, with a new 52-week low of $10.97.
Among financial stocks, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) was up about 1.4% after the UK's Daily Telegraph reported that Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King, who today appears before the Banking Standards Commission, suggested the bank could be split into a "good" and a "bad" bank. He reportedly added that the way the part-nationalization of RBS has been handled has been "a nonsense."
Energy ETFs have turned to weakness at mid-day, with Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) down 0.23% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) down 0.22%.
In sector news, Western Refining (WNR) shares were up around 0.8% and hitting its 52-week high of $39.42. Late Tuesday its board of directors authorized WNR management to explore the formation of a traditional master limited partnership and begin preparing a registration statement for an initial public offering. If WNR determines to further pursue an initial public offering of an MLP, the issuer would be a wholly owned subsidiary.
According to the weekly petroleum inventories data, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 3.8 mln barrels from the previous week. Crude continued to edge lower, down 0.87%; likewise, natural gas slipped 1.23%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.92%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 1.44%.
Gold inched up 0.22%; silver also logged gains, was up 0.28%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.27%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.65%.
Healthcare ETFs were firmer and hit new 52-week highs: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.11%, with a 52-week high of $44.59; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), up 0.05%, with a 52-week high of $80.18; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.06%, with a 52-week high of $93.30. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) also touched a new 52-week high of $154.59, ticking up 0.54%.
In corporate news, Osiris Therapeutics (OSIR) jumped nearly 30%, extending earlier gains, after the company reported a narrower Q4 loss, and better revenues compared with Street estimates. The company posted Q4 loss of $0.08 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.15 loss per share. Revenues were $3.1 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $2.91 mln.
Consumer ETFs were mixed, but reached new 52-week highs: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), down 0.18%, but touched a 52-week high of $38.72; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.14%, with a 52-week high of $83.14; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.07%, but with a 52-week high of $97.41.
Retail ETFs were lower: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), down 0.45%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), off 0.07%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) 0.21%, but earlier hit a new 52-week high of $47.69.
In sector news, Maidenform Brands (MFB) tumbled nearly 10% and touched a new 52-week low of $16.50, after the company said it expects total net sales for Q1 to decline in the teens percentage range year-over-year. It also projects a Q1 loss per share of $0.05 - $0.10. Analysts polled by CIQ were looking for EPS of $0.44. For FY13, the company sees total net sales of $575 mln - $595 mln, versus the Street view of $619.59 mln. It sees EPS of $1.20 - $1.30, versus the consensus of $1.63.
MFB reported Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.22 on net sales of $135.1 million, versus the consensus of $0.22 EPS on sales of $133.22 mln.
Power Play -
Tech ETFs were mostly higher in mid-day action: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.33%, with a 52-week high of $18.09; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), down 0.03%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.12%, with a 52-week high of $72.55, and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.23%, with a 52-week high of $69.86.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 0.23% while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) dipped lower, down 0.12%.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was up 1.38%, with
with a 52-week high of $28.06.
In sector news, despite topping Street estimates, Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd. (QIHU) shares slipped lower, down 7.38% following a big pre-earnings run-up. The company reported Q4 earnings of $0.22, above analyst estimates of $0.17 per share, and compared to earnings of $0.20 in the same period last year. Revenues were $103.0 million, better than analyst estimates of $93.5, and an increase from $62.3 million reported the comparable year ago quarter.
For Q1 2013, QIHU sees revenues between $104.5 million and $106.5 million, handily topping consensus for $92 million.