Broad Market Indicators
U.S. stock futures are pointing to a lower open following declines on European bourses. Investors are nervous ahead of a key meeting of European Union finance ministers aimed at avoiding a Greek exit from the euro. Greece needs financial support to remain solvent beyond late March, but it rejects any bailout extension that would maintain previously agreed austerity measures.
Power Play: Energy
Ivanhoe Energy ( IVAN ) shares plunged 67% after it said it plans to file for bankruptcy protection in Canada and remains in active discussions with stakeholders to recapitalize the company.
The company said it plans to file a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal (Notice of Intention) pursuant to the provisions of Part III of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) (Canada).
Ernst & Young has been appointed a trustee and will assist the company in its restructuring efforts, which include restructuring existing debt and pursuing the sale of assets.
Winners and Losers
Health Care SPDR ( XLV ), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) were flat after a higher close. Meanwhile, Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was inactive after setting a record high Thursday.
Laboratory of America Holdings (LH), a healthcare diagnostics company, posted better-than-expected Q4 earnings and provided guidance to include last year's acquisition of Covance, a drug development services company.
Net earnings for Q4 were $119.6 million, with diluted EPS of $1.39, compared to last year's earnings of $126.3 million, or $1.43 per share. Adjusted EPS was $1.65, compared to $1.61 in the fourth quarter of 2013, beating estimates for $1.64.
Sales for the quarter were approximately $1.51 billion, an increase of 5.3%, above forecasts for $1.49 billion.
The company, which last year bought Covance for $5.7 billion, said it expects revenue growth for 2015 of about 40% to 44% after adjusting for a negative effect of about 160 basis points from the impact of a stronger dollar. That implies a range of $8.41 billion to $8.65 billion.
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 0.2%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was flat, while Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (FAZ) was also unchanged.
First Industrial Realty Trust (FR) late Thursday reported Q4 FFO that was on par with the Street view.
First Industrial's Q4 FFO was $0.32 per share/unit on a diluted basis, compared to $0.27 per share/unit a year ago and on par with the analyst estimate of $0.32 per share.
"The First Industrial team enjoyed another good year, driving our portfolio occupancy to 94.3% at year-end which contributed to strong same store NOI growth," said Bruce W. Duncan, First Industrial's president and CEO in statement. "We also continued to make progress on our investment and divestment programs, using our platform to enhance our portfolio to deliver long-term cash flow growth to shareholders."
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), 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) closed mixed Thursday and were unchanged pre-market. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was also flat.
Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) closed higher and were flat pre-bell.
Google (GOOG, GOOGL) hopes to unveil a new version of its Google Wallet payment service at its developer conference in late May, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The technology giant, which is trying to make its payment service compete better with Apple's (AAPL) Apple Pay, is "trying to marshal an unruly coalition of device makers, wireless carriers, banks and payment networks to shape a new version of its Google Wallet payment service, in some cases by offering them more revenue," the WSJ report said.
The report noted Google has less control over the smartphones using its Android mobile operating system than Apple does over its iPhones. Google's efforts are further complicated by plans some of its partners have for their own payment services, the report added, noting Samsung Electronics, which makes Android phones, plans to unveil its own payment service next month.
Crude was up 0.45%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.37%. Natural gas was up 2.3% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) jumped 3.3%.
Gold was up 0.2%, and silver was up 0.5%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.65% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.9%.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) were weaker Thursday and inactive pre-market.
SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) , PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were also in the negative Thursday and unchanged pre-bell.
TRW Automotive Holdings (TRW) was steady in early pre-bell trade Friday despite news that its German suitor had offered concessions in a bid to get EU approval for a takeover.
The European Commission will decide the fate of the $13.5 billion takeover offer by German car parts company ZF Friedrichshafen by March 12, the report said.
Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 (SPY): +0.01%
United States Oil Fund LP (USO): -0.78%
iShares MSCI Japan (EWJ): +0.91%
Energy Select Sector SPDR ( XLE ): -0.43%
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (EEM): -0.10%
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
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