ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Edge Lower As Harvey and Irma Drive Jobless Claims Higher; Q2 GDP Revised Higher

Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's pre-market session:

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.6%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.2%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +0.2%

iShares Russell 2000 ETF ( IWM ): +0.04%

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +0.2%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.3%.

U.S. stock futures were pointing lower following the report that the U.S. Q2 gross domestic product was revised to an increase of 3.1% from the 3% first reported.

Meanwhile, the August advance goods trade deficit narrowed slightly to -$62.9 billion versus the consensus for -$65.7 billion.

In other economic data news, weekly initial jobless claims rose by 12,000 to 272,000, versus expectations for a total of 270,000. But the figures were impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as people who were temporarily unable to work due to the aftermath of the hurricanes sought unemployment benefits.

A couple of speakers from the Federal Reserve will be in the spotlight. Kansas City Fed President Esther George will give a speech on the economy and monetary policy at 9:45 a.m. ET. Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer will also give a speech at a Bank of England conference in London at 10 a.m. ET.

Power Play: Technology

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 flat.

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

Apple (AAPL), Seagate Technology (STX), Dell Technologies (DVMT), and privately-held Kingston Technology have been confirmed as the U.S. investors backing a Bain Capital-led consortium's acquisition of Toshiba's memory unit. Toshiba confirmed the signing of a share purchase agreement with the K.K. Pangea special purpose entity led by Bain for JPY2 trillion ($17.74 billion). Pangea plans to seek loans in the amount of JPY600 billion ($5.32 billion) to fund the deal. AAPL shares were down marginally while STX shares were up more than 1%.

Winners and Losers


Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.2%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.9% and its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was flat.

Western Asset Mortgage Capital (WMC) said pre-market Thursday that it has priced its previously announced public offering of $100 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2022. The company has granted the underwriter a 30-day option to purchase up to $15 million aggregate principal amount of additional notes on the same terms and conditions to cover over-allotments.


Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was flat and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.1%.

Ferrellgas Partners (FGP) reported a fiscal Q4 loss of $0.57 per diluted share compared with a loss of $6.68 per share a year ago, lagging a single estimate for a loss of $0.43 per share as provided by Capital IQ. Total revenue during the three months that ended July 31 rose to $433.4 million from $409.5 million a year ago, coming in above the $431.7 million consensus.


Crude was up 0.8%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 1.1%. Natural gas was down 0.5% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.3%.

Gold was down 0.1%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.2%. Silver was down 0.8% while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.3%.

Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were flat in pre-market trading . Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 0.03%.

Alcobra (ADHD) was up more than 14% after agreeing to merge with Arcturus Therapeutics, a privately-held biotechnology company developing RNA medicines, in an all-stock transaction. The transaction will result in a combined company focused on developing RNA medicines for infectious disease, cystic fibrosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and rare liver diseases. Alcobra shareholders are expected to own approximately 40% of the company while Arcturus shareholders will own 60%. The conversion ratio for the transaction is based on a valuation of Alcobra of $46.7 million, which includes approximately $35 million of expected Alcobra cash at the time of closing. The proposed merger has been approved by both boards and is expected to close in Q4.


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.

McCormick & Company (MKC) rose nearly 3% after it reported Q3 adjusted earnings of $1.12 per share, excluding one-time items, compared with the prior-year period's $1.03 per share. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were expecting EPS of $1.05. Revenue was $1.19 billion, up 8.6% from $1.09 billion in the same quarter last year. The Street view was for revenue of $1.16 billion. The company expects fiscal 2017 revenue to grow 9%; excluding the impact of unfavorable currency rates, the projected growth is 10% - 11%. It sees adjusted EPS of $4.20 - $4.24. The Street view is for EPS of $4.12.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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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