ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Firmer Ahead as Street Mull Mester Comments, Small Business Optimism Index

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.4%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.2%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +1.4%

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +0.7%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.4%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was down 0.7%.

US stock futures were pointing higher, reversing from earlier losses, which in turn had been prompted by a weakening dollar against a rally in yen.

Speaking in Dayton, Ohio before the open, Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester told her audience that the Fed needs to continue raising rates at a pace similar to 2017. Mester is a voting member of the Fed board this year.

In economic data news, the January National Federation of Independent Business small business optimism index rose 2 points to 106.9 in January, after falling 2.6 points to 104.9 in December.

Investors are looking ahead to the January consumer price inflation data to be released Wednesday.

Power Play: Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.2% while other funds Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were flat.

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was up 0.2% while retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were quiet in pre-market trade.

Blue Apron Holdings (APRN) rose 9.9% after the provider of recipes and fresh ingredients reported Tuesday a Q4 net loss of $0.20 per share, compared to a net loss of $0.39 per share in the prior year period, narrower than the $0.25 loss per share Street estimate provided by Capital IQ. Revenue was $187.7 million, down from $215.9 million reported for the same period last year but still higher than the $186.1 million Street estimate.

Winners and Losers


The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.9%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.5% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was down 1.6%.

Ares Capital (ARCC) rose more than 2% after it reported Q4 core earnings decreased to $0.38 per share from $0.42 in the year-earlier period. Analysts polled by Capital IQ had forecast EPS of $0.37. Total investment income rose to $307 million from $261 million, exceeding the $300.7 million consensus. The company said it will pay an unchanged Q1 dividend of $0.38 per share, on March 30 to shareholders of record on March 15.


Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.3% while 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 inactive.

Himax Technologies (HIMX) fell more than 3% after it reported Q4 adjusted net income of $0.14 per American depositary share, up from $0.03 per ADS in the prior year period and in line with the Street estimate provided by Capital IQ. Revenue was $181.1 million, down from $203.4 million reported for the same period last year and short of the $184.3 million Street estimate. For Q1, the company expects GAAP loss of $0.02 to $0.03 per share, worse than the $0.04 profit expected by analysts, and a revenue decline of 9% to 14% sequentially.


Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were both flat in pre-market trade.

MagneGas (MNGA) rose nearly 7% after the clean technology company said that its ESSI Florida-based industrial gas and welding supply subsidiary added more than 100 new clients in the past 90 days. As a result, the company said it is on track to report record sales for Q4 with a strong start to 2018, it said on Tuesday.


Crude was down 1.1%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.9%. Natural gas was up 2.8% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2.3%.

Gold was up 0.1%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.4%. Silver was down 0.4%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.3%.

Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV) and other health care funds Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were quiet. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was inactive in pre-market trade.

Catabasis Pharmaceuticals (CATB) rose 30% after the company reported new clinical results that showed the preservation of muscle function and sustained disease-modifying effects of edasalonexent in boys with Duchene muscular dystrophy. Results of the MoveDMD trial showed "consistent improvements in all assessments of muscle function" after a year of treatment with the drug, as well as "supportive changes in non-effort based measures of muscle health...with significant longer-term reductions in muscle enzymes and C-reactive protein." The drug also continued to be well tolerated with no safety signals observed. The company plans to start a single global phase 3 trial of the drug in H1 2018, and expects to report top-line results in 2020.

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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