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ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Continue to Rally on Tax Reform Bill, Upbeat Housing Starts Data

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Active broad-market exchange-traded funds ahead of Tuesday's regular session:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.1%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +0.5%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.04%

VelocityShares 3x Long Natural Gas ETN ( UGAZ ):-1.7%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): -0.3%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV edged higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.1%.

US stock futures were higher on expectations that the tax reform bill will finally get signed this week, and as Wall Street digests housing data and Q3 account deficit data.

For November, housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.297 million units versus forecasts for 1.259 million. Meanwhile, building permits decreased to a seasonally adjusted 1.298 million versus expectations for 1.280 million.

Also, the current account deficit for Q3 totaled $100.6 billion, versus the consensus for -$117.4 billion. The second quarter deficit was revised to $124.4 billion from $123.1 billion.

Power Play: Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) 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 flat.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were both inactive.

MeetMe (MEET) shares rose more than 13% after the company provided guidance revenues for Q4 and fiscal year 2017 in line with Street forecasts. For Q4, the mobile applications company expects adjusted revenue of $36.5 million - $38 million. Analysts polled by Capital IQ are expecting revenue of $37 million. For FY17, MeetMe expects to report revenue to be at or above the high end of its prior outlook of $120.1 million - $121.6 million. The Street view is for $120.6 million.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.5%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.9% and its bearish counterpart, FAZ was down 0.4%.

CIM Commercial Trust (CMCT) said Monday that it has repurchased nearly 14.1 million shares of its common stock from a fund managed by an affiliate of CIM Group, for $22 per share or an aggregate purchase price of $310 million. The real estate investment trust also said that its board has declared a special cash dividend on its common stock of $0.73 per share, payable on Jan. 11 to shareholders of record on Dec. 29.

Energy

Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were both flat.

Sempra Energy's (SRE) LNG & Midstream unit said it has reached a settlement agreement with CCJV, its construction contractor on the Cameron LNG project in Louisiana. CCJV is a joint venture between an affiliate of Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) and and Japan's Chiyoda. The settlement resolves all of CCJV's claims to date, including Hurricane Harvey. Sempra said it falls within the construction budget and financing commitments for the project and includes incentives for additional milestones. It will also reflect improvement to Chicago Bridge & Iron's credit support to the project, Sempra said. Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Sempra expects the project to contribute between $300 million to $350 million to its earnings beginning in 2020 and increasing over time.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.6%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.5%. Natural gas was up 0.7% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.2%

Gold was down 0.02%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.03%. Silver was down 0.03%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.1%.

Health Care

Health care funds Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), were quiet. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was flat.

Cancer Genetics (CGIX) rose over 7% after the company said it has received approval from the New York State Department of Health for Thermo Fischer Scientific's (TMO) Oncomine Dx Target Test. The Oncomine Dx Target test is a next-generation sequencing-based companion diagnostic that simultaneously screens tumor samples for multiple biomarkers associated with three FDA-approved therapies for non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer Genetics was one of the first laboratories and precision medicine companies in the country to offer the diagnostic test, and the first to offer it in NY.

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were inactive.

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 flat.

Jack In the Box (JACK) shares were up 2% after the restaurant operator said Tuesday it has agreed to sell its Qdoba Restaurant Corporation subsidiary to funds managed by Apollo Global Management (APO) for approximately $305 million in cash. Qdoba operates and franchises more than 700 Qdoba Mexican Eats restaurants. Its system-wide sales were more than $820 million in fiscal 2017, the company said. The deal is expected to close by April. Jack in the Box said it plans to use proceeds to retire debt under its term loan. Jack In the Box said it will provide guidance for fiscal 2018 on Jan. 9.

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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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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