Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at the start of Friday's regular session:
VelocityShares 3x Inverse Natural Gas ETN ( DGAZ ): +5.2%
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.5%
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -1.2%
VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): -0.6
SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -0.7%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.01%.
US stocks started the shortened trading session in negative territory, with the energy sector leading losers as crude oil prices slump once again amid oil supply worries. US-China trade tensions continued to linger, and Wall Street will be keeping an eye on the meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the G20 summit happening next week.
Investors will also be watching for early indications of Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year that kicks off the holiday shopping season. So far, early reports indicate the shopping season will be strong.
Power Play: Consumer
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) rose 0.2% at the open and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods (IYK) were lower.
Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was down 0.1% and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were also in the red.
Orchids Paper Products (TIS) is up more than 175% after the company said late Wednesday it had amended its credit facility and acquired a new customer. The maker of tissue, napkins and other paper products said the credit amendment waives previously disclosed non-compliance with covenants, increases borrowing capacity by $5.9 million, defers interest payments and extends the deadline to sell assets or refinance debt to the end of the year. Orchids also said it won a bid from a national supercenter retailer as the sole supplier of kitchen towels and bath tissue. The business is expected to begin shipping in March and "to make a significant contribution to the overall profitability of the company," said Orchids in a statement.
Winners and Losers
The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) fell 1% as the regular session started. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 1.9% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was up 2.7%.
HSBC (HSBC) edged lower after the London-based bank was reportedly hit with a technical glitch just hours after Britain's Parliament launched a probe into a series of recent bank IT failures. Nettled HSBC customers took to social media on Friday after they could not log into the bank's mobile-banking app to transfer money, as many tried to shop on "Black Friday," the shopping day known for retail deals. The timing of the HSBC glitch was notable, as an investigation into bank IT freezes by Parliament's Treasury select committee had just gotten underway.
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.05% and other tech funds iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) and iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) were in the lower.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was flat while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.49%.
Facebook (FB) fell some 1.3% after it admitted in a blog post that it had hired Republican-affiliated public relations firm Definers to do work on its critics--most notably, billionaire and hedge fund manager George Soros. Outgoing communications chief Elliot Schrage detailed the social media platform's involvement with Definers and admitted asking it to look into potential financial motivation of Soros after the latter called the company a "menace to society" in a speech at Davos. The admission came after a New York Times report last week detailing how the social media site handled a series of crises and how it used Definers to fight back against criticism.
Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was down 3% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 3.1%.
Occidental Petroleum's (OXY) affiliate Occidental Andina has agreed to buy a 50% stake in Amerisur Resources' Colombia blocks, in return for funding a $93.3 million exploration and appraisal program between 2019-2021. Occidental Andina will fund 85% of the total planned 2D seismic cost expenditure of $65 million and 100% of the $38 million planned drilling program. The blocks are: Putumayo-9, Terecay, Tacacho and Mecaya, all in the Putumayo region, in southern Colombia. OXY shares fell 2.5%.
Crude was down 6.1.%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 6%. Natural gas was up 0.4% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 1.6%.
Gold was down 0.3%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.1%. Silver was down 1.7%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 1.2%.
Health Care SPDR (XLV) was down 0.2% and other health care funds including Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (IYH) were lower. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.1%.
Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) and Novartis (NVS) and said that the European Commission has approved Luxturna, a gene therapy for the treatment of patients with vision loss caused by a genetic mutation in both copies of the RPE65 gene and who have enough viable retinal cells. According to the pharmaceutical firms, the approval was based on a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use that examined data drawn from a Phase 1 clinical trial, its follow-up trial, and the first randomized, controlled Phase 3 gene therapy trial for an inherited disease. Decisions from national reimbursement bodies on Luxturna are expected in 2019 and 2020, Novartis added. Spark Therapeutics signed a licensing deal with Novartis in January 2018 to commercialize Luxturna when approved in Europe and all other markets outside the US. Novartis maintains exclusive rights to pursue development, registration and commercialization of Luxturna in all countries outside the US. while Spark Therapeutics manufactures and supplies the drug to Novartis. ONCE shares rose more than 4% and NVS ADRs were down more than 1%.