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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Trim Losses Following Mixed Economic Data

Posted
12/19/2013 12:37:00 PM
By: MT Newswires
Referenced Stocks:EEM;EWJ;GDX;QQQ;SPY

Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's regular session:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.15%, but near its 52-week high.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -2%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.3%, but near 52 week highs.

iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): -0.8%

Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ): -1.6%, with a new 52-week low

Broad Market Indicators

Most broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, were weaker. Likewise, PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was down 0.3%, but still near its 52-week high.

Most U.S. stocks were also in negative territory, but most have pared off losses at session's half. Following the initial surge on the back of the Fed's policy announcement late Wednesday, market sentiment has lost some of its optimism on today's mixed economic data. Weekly jobless claims jumped to their highest level since late March, while existing home sales for November declined 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.9 million. The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index rose to 7 in December, but this missed expectations. Leading indicators index showed a more upbeat reading, rising to 98.3 for November; this indicates a modest expansion in the U.S. economy.

Power Play: Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) has turned slightly positive while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was also up.

In sector news, USEC (USU) was up more than 20%, but still at the low end of its 52 week range after it said the United States Department of Energy is prepared to extend the American Centrifuge cooperative research, development and demonstration program for three months beyond January 15, 2014, subject to Congressional appropriations. DOE and USEC will share costs of the program on an 80%/20% basis for a total funding level of approximately $10 million per month.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was slightly lower, but near its 52-week high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 0.4%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 0.4%.

Technology

Tech funds, including Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) and iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) were mixed. iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) and iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) were higher and both reached new 52-week highs.

SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were weaker but still near their respective 52-week highs.

In sector news, IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) was up more than 15% and hit a new 52-week high after the company said as part of its reorganization efforts, Greg Blatt, the company's CEO, will become the chairman of the newly created Match Group, which will initially consist of IAC's Match businesses, Tutor.com, DailyBurn and IAC's investment in Skyllzone. Sam Yagan, the CEO of Match, will become CEO of the Group, and will focus on growing the dating businesses, leveraging best practices across the Match Group, and expanding the Match Group portfolio beyond its current verticals. Blatt will step down as CEO of IACI, and the company does not intend to name a new CEO. Instead, Joey Levin, CEO of Search & Applications, and Kerry Trainor, CEO of Vimeo, will now report directly to Barry Diller, the chairman and senior executive of the company.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.87% and natural gas was up 4.37%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 1.5%; United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 3.8%.

Gold was down 2.88% and SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 2% and nearer to 52 week lows. Silver was down while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 3%, and also closer to its 52 week lows.

Healthcare

Health Care SPDR (XLV) and other healthcare funds Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were weaker today. iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down too, 0.5% lower.

Among stocks, Neogen Corporation (NEOG), which makes food and animal safety products, said Q2 net income was $6.2 million, compared with $6.79 million a year ago. Adjusted for a 3-for-2 stock split effective Oct. 31, 2013, EPS were $0.17, compared to $0.19 a year ago, below the consensus forecast for $0.19 on Capital IQ. Revenues increased 17% to $59.59 million, helped by two acquisitions completed this year and beating analysts' estimates of $58.1 million. The company's earnings compare unfavorably with last year when an outbreak of aflatoxin and DON in the U.S. and EU grain markets pushed up revenue. The stock is down more than 7%.

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) were weaker but still trading at the higher end of their 52-week ranges.

Retail ETFs SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) and PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) were also lower; Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) slipped into the red but reached a new 52-week high of $60.70 earlier.

Among stocks, Rite-Aid (RAD) shares were down some 9% after it reported Q3 revenues of $6.36 billion, up from $6.2 billion a year prior. The Street expected $6.3 billion in revenues, according to Capital IQ estimates. Net income was $0.04 per diluted share, including $0.03 per share related to redeeming preferred stock,vs. $0.07 per share a year prior. Analysts expected $0.04 per share. RAD also updated its fiscal 2014 guidance with sales expected to be between $25.3 billion and $25.425 billion and same store sales to range from an increase of 0.35 percent to 0.85 percent compared to fiscal 2013. The Street consensus is $25.3 billion in revenue and earnings of $0.22 per share.