ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Edge Higher Ahead of FOMC Statement, Yellen News Conference

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.75%

iShares S&P 500 ( IVV ): -0.5+0.77

PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ): +0.87%

iShares Russell 2000 ( IWM ): +0.33%

iShares Russell 1000 Growth ( IWF ): +0.85%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (EEM): +1.31%

United States Oil Fund (USO): +2.00%

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): +0.16%

Select Financial Sector SPDRS (XLF): +0.43%

Wednesday's Pre-Market Most Active:

SPY, +0.08%

EEM, +0.25%

IWM, -0.12%

FXI, -0.32%

VXX, +0.15%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, were edging higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is up 0.04%.

U.S. stock futures were flat to modestly higher as investors continued to keep their eyes on the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, with a statement to be released at 2 pm ET. This will be followed by a news conference with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

In economic data, the Commerce Department said the U.S. current account deficit fell by 3.8% to $98.5 billion in Q2, from a revised $102.2 billion in Q1. Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that U.S. consumer prices declined a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in August - the first time in six months - versus expectations for it to remain flat.

Global market sentiment brightened following news that the People's Bank of China approved an injection of RMB 500 billion or about $81 billion into the country's five major state-owned banks to counter a slowdown in its economy.

Power Play: Healthcare

Health Care SPDR (XLV) , Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were flat. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.18% in pre-market trading .

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (AUXL) was up 45.91% after it responded to an unsolicited, non-binding buyout offer from Endo Int'l (ENDP), at $28.10 a share, or about $2 billion. AUXL said its board will review ENDP's bid. AUXL said it is not altering its existing merger agreement with QLT (QLTI), the Canadian eye-drug maker.

In addition, AUXL board adopted a one-year stockholder rights plan effective Sept. 16, 2014 and declared a dividend distribution of one preferred share purchase right on each outstanding share of AUXL's common. The stockholder's plan is intended to ensure that AUXL is in the best position to perform its fiduciary duties and to enable all AUXL stockholders to receive fair and equal treatment. It is also designed to reduce the likelihood that any person or group would gain control of AUXL through open-market accumulation or other coercive tactics, without appropriately compensating AUXL's stockholders, said AUXL.

QLTI shares were down 11.29% while ENDP shares were up 4.88%.

Winners and Losers


Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 0.21%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.34% while its bearish counterpart, FAZ was down 0.31%.

Credit Suisse (CS) was down 0.04% following the Wall Street Journal late Tuesday that the company has received a letter from U.S. regulators asking the bank to stop making risky loans. Wall Street Journal cited a person familiar with the matter.


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) were inactive. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was also unchanged.

Semiconductor ETFs SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were also flat.

Rackspace Hosting (RAX) was down 18% after the company disclosed it ended talks on a possible acquisition and named a new CEO. The board also decided against implementing a share repurchase program.

The cloud company on Tuesday said that although it had retained Morgan Stanley and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati evaluate acquisition opportunities, it would remain independent. The company named Taylor Rhodes as its CEO, noting Rhodes is a Rackspace veteran who has served in various leadership positions within the company since 2007.


Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were unchanged in pre-market trading.

Western Refining (WNR) is acquiring gas producer ConocoPhillips' (COP) idled Wingate Fractionation Plant in Gallup, New Mexico. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed. The Wingate facility includes rail loading and offloading capabilities and storage facilities in addition to natural gas liquids fractionation capability.


Crude was down 0.23%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.06%. Natural gas futures was down 0.12%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.09%.

Gold was up 0.11% while silver was down 0.14% . Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.05% while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.06%.


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

General Mills (GIS) was down 2.59% after it reported Q1 sales declined 2% to $4.27 billion, below the analyst consensus of $4.38 billion on Capital IQ. Adjusted EPS was $0.61, down 13% from $0.70 per share in last year's quarter and below expectations of $0.69 per share.

The company reiterated its full-year growth targets for 2015. Net sales are expected to grow at a mid single-digit rate in constant currency, including contribution of a 53rd week in this fiscal year. Segment operating profit also is targeted to grow at a mid single-digit rate in constant currency. Benefit of the extra fiscal week will be reinvested to support increased advertising and digital media initiatives, along with project expenses related to several key fiscal 2016 product launches. Adjusted diluted EPS (which excludes mark-to-market valuation effects, currency devaluation, and restructuring, exit and other project-related costs) is expected to grow at a high single-digit rate in constant currency. At current exchange rates the company estimates a 2-cent headwind from currency translation in 2015.

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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