Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Higher as Dow Nearing 14,000 Again; Upbeat Housing Data Offsets Lackluster January ISM
Active broad market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY ): +0.88%
Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.83%
Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF ( VWO ): +0.09%
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.09
PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +1.17%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, continue to be firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is up 0.44%.
U.S. stocks are higher at session's half, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average pushing near 14,000 again. Sentiment has brightened a day after markets saw the worst trading day since November 2012. Investors cheered CoreLogic's report that U.S. home prices grew 0.4% in December, showing a year-over-year growth of 8.3% - the best growth in home prices in the past six years, according to MarketWatch.
The January ISM Services Index, on the other hand, had a reading of 55.2, just shy of the 55.6 reading anticipated by economists polled by Briefing.com. Earnings continue to be in the spotlight, although reports have been mixed so far. Walt Disney (DIS), Chipotle (CMG) and Zynga (ZNGA) earnings are still on tap in today's after hours session.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is up 0.86%, near its year high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 2.64%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 2.41%, near its year low.
Among financial stocks, NYSE Euronext (NYX) is up 0.69%, with a new 52-week high of $35.13. The company reported Q4 earnings of $0.43 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.40. Revenues were $562 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $555.37 mln. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $0.50 on revenues of $559 mln.
Tech ETFs are in the positive territory at mid-day: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 1.02%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 1.04%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 1.04% and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.86%.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 0.79% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is up 1.13%.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is up 0.11%, nearing its 52-week high.
In sector news, Blackberry (BB.TO, BBRY) is up 8.06% after CEO Thorsten Heins talked up the outlook for the company on the day its new Z10 smart phones go on sale in Canada. Heins said during an interview on Canada's BNN TV that Blackberry (which has changed its name in the last week from Research In Motion to coincide with the release of its new operating system and smart phones) was called "dead" a few months ago, but now all signs are pointing in the right direction.
During the interview, Heins said sales of its new Blackberry Z10 in the UK, where it has been available since late last week, have been very encouraging while pre-registration in Canada went very well. Heins said he has heard talk that some subscribers are making a switch to the new Blackberry operating system, although he didn't elaborate. Blackberry in its latest quarter reported a drop to 79 million from around 80 million subscribers. It is losing out in subscribers to people who prefer Apple's iPhone and Google's Android, which is used by Samsung.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 0.63%, near its 52-week high; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is up 0.58%.
In sector news, Arch Coal (ACI) is down 9.67% after it posted Q4 sales of $968.2 million, missing estimates for $997.64 million. The company posted an adjusted loss per share of $0.42, wider than the $0.15 Street view.
Crude was down 0.67%; natural gas was up 0.06%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.83%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is up 0.80%.
Gold was up 0.57% and silver was up 1.53%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.19%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.29%.
Healthcare ETFs are firmer, nearing their 52-week highs: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.96%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), up 0.92%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.92%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is up 0.78%.
In corporate news, shares of Hemispherx BioPharma (HEB) are down 19.81%, paring earlier losses, after the company received a Complete Response Letter from the US Food and Drug Administration declining to approve its new drug application for Ampligen for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Shares touched a new 52-week low of $0.18.
Power Play -
Consumer ETFs are firmer at mid-day: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 1.11%, with a new 52-week high of $37.30; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 1.07% and nearing its 52-week high; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 1.02%, also with a new 52-week high of $94.10.
In sector news, Yum! Brands (YUM) is now down 2.83%, trimming earlier losses, but touching a new 52-week low of $59.68. The company reported that Q4 earnings were $0.83 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.82. Revenues were $4.15 bln, versus the analyst estimate of $4.12 bln. The company revised its guidance for FY13, now seeing a mid-single digit EPS decline, excluding special items, from the previous outlook of 10% growth.
YUM shares were also downgraded this morning to Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird, with the price target cut to $60 from $72.