Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Lower on Mixed Economic Data
Active broad market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY ): -0.51%, near 52 week highs
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ( VXX ): +2.04%
Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): -0.57%, with a new 52-week high
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -1.16%,
PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.58%.
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is down 0.56%.
U.S. stocks are now in the negative territory in the session's half, following a slew of mixed economic data and corporate earnings. The latest weekly initial jobless claims was 366,000, higher than the 360,000 that had been projected by the Briefing.com consensus. Continuing claims rose to 3.224 million from 3.216 million.
In Q4, unit labor costs increased by 4.5% above the growth forecast of 2.4%. Productivity slipped 2% in the quarter. Aside from earnings reports, same store figures from major retailers are also in focus today. Still ahead, the December consumer credit report will be reported at 3 pm ET.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is down 0.57%, but with a new 52-week high of $17.67. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is down 1.74%, also with a new 52-week high of $148.62. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is up 1.84%, with a new 52-week low of $11.89.
Among financial stocks, Cigna (CI) is now up 1.68%, climbing to a new 52-week high of $61.23, after it reported Q4 adjusted EPS of $1.57, ahead of estimates for $1.48. Revenue for the quarter came in at $7.62 billion, topping the $6.72 billion consensus. Shares closed at $59.67.
Tech ETFs are lower at mid-day: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), is down 0.44%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), down 0.28%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), down 0.62%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 0.73%.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is down 1.64% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is down 0.89%.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is down 1.57%.
In sector news, Akamai Technologies (AKAM) is now down 16% after it reported late Wednesday Q4 sales of $378 mln, missing the Street view of $381.30 mln. Non-GAAP EPS for the quarter was $0.54, topping the consensus by $0.04. The company's board also said it extended AKAM's $150 mln share buyback program to Feb 1.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is down 0.72% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is down 0.63%.
In sector news, Noble Energy (NBL) is now down 0.67% but earlier hit a new 52-week high of $114.38. It reported Q4 earnings of $1.65 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $1.13. Revenues were $1.17 bln, versus the analyst estimate of $1.13 bln.
According to the latest EIA estimates, working gas in storage was 2,684 Bcf as of Feb. 1, representing a net decline of 118 Bcf from the previous week.
Crude was down 0.76%; natural gas was down 2.72%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.94%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is down 3.41%.
Gold was down 0.35% and silver was down 0.48%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.42%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1.53%.
Healthcare ETFs are lower, but nearing their 52-week highs: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.56%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.63%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down 0.67%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is down 1.32%.
In corporate news, Gentiva Health (GTIV) is now down 6.91% after it reported Q4 earnings of $0.32 per share, ex $0.01 impact of Hurricane Sandy, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.34. Revenues were $425 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $433.75 mln.
Power Play -
Retail ETFs and stocks continue to see active trading today after most major retailers reported their same store sales figures for January 2013 in the pre-market session. Most of them are also providing or revising their outlooks. The sector, however, is underperforming the broader market as the same store sales were mixed.
Among those reporting, Cato (CATO) is down 5.22% after it said that for the month of January 2013, comparable store sales decreased 9%, reflecting the difficult retail environment the company faced in 2012. Total sales were $63.8 million, an increase of 26% over sales of $50.5 million for the same month last year. The Retail Metrics consensus was for comparable store sales to remain flat.
The company also said it expects to report Q4 revenues of $232 million, up 5% over sales of $221.5 million from the same period a year ago. Comparable store sales decreased 7% from last year. CATO is lowering its Q4 EPS guidance to $0.27 - $0.29, from the prior guidance range of $0.34 - $0.36. Analysts polled by Capital IQ are expecting EPS of $0.35.
Retail ETFs are inching lower: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), down 0.63%, but touched a new 52-week high of $68.06; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), up 1.09%, near its 52-week high; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), down 0.37%, but also with a new 52-week high of $46.42.