Active broad-market exchange-traded funds ahead of Thursday's regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.5%
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +1.2%
VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +0.5%
SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +0.8%
United States Oil Fund ( USO ): +0.9%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.5%.
US stock futures were cautiously higher ahead of the open, with trade fears still somewhat lingering, and investors looking to earnings as well as inflation data to brighten market sentiment.
The Consumer Price Index for June rose 0.1%, versus forecasts for a 0.2% increase over May levels, when inflation at the consumer level also grew 0.2% month-over-month. Excluding food and energy costs, CPI rose 0.2% in June in line with estimates. On a year-over-year basis, total CPI was up 2.9% and the core CPI was up 2.3%.
Meanwhile, first-time jobless benefit applications totaled 214,000 versus economists' expectations for a drop of 6,000 initial claims to 225,000 applicants, remaining near multi-decade lows.
Power Play: Technology
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.6% and other tech funds iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) were inactive.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were both flat.
CA Technologies (CA) jumped nearly 19%, reaching its best share price since March 2000, after agreeing to a nearly $18.9 billion takeover offer from Broadcom (AVGO). Under terms of the proposed transaction, CA investors will receive $44.50 in cash for each of their shares, representing a 19.6% premium over Wednesday's closing price. Broadcom is expecting the deal to immediately add to its non-GAAP per-share earnings after closing, which is expected before the end of the year, pending shareholder and anti-trust approvals by regulators in the United States, the European Union and Japan. AVGO shares fell 11.2%
Winners and Losers
The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.8%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.4% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was down 1.4% in pre-market trading .
Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK) fell some 4% after the company reported late Wednesday Q2 earnings of $0.89 per share, up from the prior-year period's $0.73 per share and in line with the Capital IQ consensus estimate. Revenue, calculated as the sum of net interest income and non-interest income, was $252.1 million, up from $233.9 million in the same quarter last year. The Street view is for revenues of $255.9 million.
Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was flat while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.7%.
ConocoPhillips (COP) shares were up over 1% after the oil and natural gas company said it has increased its planned 2018 share repurchase program to $3 billion from $2 billion, which it said it will fund with cash from operations. The company also said that it paid down $2.1 billion of balance sheet debt during Q2, thereby achieving its stated debt target of $15 billion earlier than the target date of year-end 2019.
Crude was up 0.9%. United States Oil Fund ( USO ) was up some 1%. Natural gas was down 0.5% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.4%.
Gold was down 0.3%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.3%. Silver was down 0.7%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.7%.
Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 0.3% and other health care funds Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were flat. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.3% in pre-market trading.
Altimmune (ALT) shares were up nearly 10% after the clinical-stage immunotherapeutics company said it has entered into agreements with all of the remaining investors in its series B financing to restructure and terminate the previous arrangements. Under terms of these new agreements, long term investors Novartis Ventures, HealthCap, Truffle Capital, Fidelis Capital and Bonaventure Capital have partnered with Altimmune to receive common shares as repayment of the final installment of the series B preferred stock and to terminate all outstanding warrants held by them. Together with the restructuring announced on June 22, 97% of the series B financing has now been restructured and, as of July 17, no shares of the company's series B preferred stock will be outstanding and only 75,995 of the associated warrants will remain outstanding.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.6% and other funds Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were flat.
Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were inactive in pre-market territory.
L Brands (LB) shares slumped nearly 7% after the specialty store operator said June sales increased 6% to $1.28 billion from the same period last year and comparable sales for the five weeks ended July 7 increased 3% year-over-year, compared to a 5% gain in comparable sales for May. Sales of $4.76 billion for the 22 weeks ended July 7 were up 8% from $4.42 billion for the 22 weeks ended July 1, 2017. Comparable sales for the 22-week period increased 3% compared to the prior year period.