ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Look to Open Lower; Trade Concerns Flare Up as China Protests Arrest of Huawei Executive

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.02%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.7%

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

Invesco QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.1%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): -0.03%

Broad Market Indicators

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

US stock futures were pointing to a weaker open amid an intensifying trade spat between the world's two largest economies, with China summoning the US ambassador to Beijing over the weekend to protest the detention of a key Huawei executive.

Meanwhile, March 1 is set as the "hard deadline" for the US and China to reach a trade deal, Robert Lighthizer, who is leading trade talks with China, said in an interview with CBS.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for October will be released at 10 am ET, with expectations for 7.000 million, down from September's 7.009 million.

Power Play: Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 0.5% and other health care funds including Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (IYH) were quiet. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.3%.

Ra Pharmaceuticals (RARX) shares surged 18% after the company reported that its phase 2 clinical trial evaluating zilucoplan for the treatment of generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) achieved clinically meaningful and statistically significant reductions in both the primary and key secondary endpoints for both zilucoplan dose groups tested versus placebo at 12 weeks. Myasthenia gravis is a chronic, autoimmune, neuromuscular disease characterized by weakness and fatigue of skeletal muscles. The multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of zilucoplan in patients with generalized myasthenia gravis, regardless of prior therapies, who had a MGFA Disease Class of II-IVa at screening and a QMG score - a physician-administered assessment of MG-related muscle weakness - of greater than or equal to 12 at screening and randomization. The trial enrolled 44 patients in the US and Canada. Zilucoplan dosed at 0.3 mg/kg subcutaneously (SC) daily achieved a mean reduction from baseline of 6.0 points in the Quantitative Myasthenia Gravis (QMG) score and a mean reduction from baseline of 3.4 points in the MG Activities of Daily Living (MG-ADL) score, with no patients treated with the 0.3 mg/kg dose of zilucoplan requiring rescue therapy. Treatment with zilucoplan had a favorable safety and tolerability profile in the study, consistent with previously-completed phase 1 and phase 2 studies.

Winners and Losers


The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 0.2% in pre-market trade. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.2% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was up 0.1%.

Credit Suisse (CS) will announce a plan to buy back shares worth billions and increase its dividend at an upcoming investor day this week, Bloomberg News reported citing an article from German daily SonntagsZeitung. According to the report, the share buyback would be for just over CHF3 billion ($3 billion). The announcement could be made this Wednesday during an investor day event to be held in London. The Zurich-based investment bank had previously stated it wants to pay out 50% of earnings to shareholders in 2019 and 2020. CEO Tidjane Thiam is under investor pressure to revive the bank's share price, which has plummeted by about a third this year, Bloomberg News said. CS ADRs rose 0.5% in pre-market trade.


Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) and other tech funds iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) and iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) were inactive.

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

Nokia (NOK) ADRs gained nearly 2% after it said that, together with Elisa and Efore, it has deployed a liquid-cooled base station system in an apartment building in Helsinki. The system promises lower costs for operators and owners of base station sites, as well as reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Nokia Bell Labs developed the liquid-cooled base station, Efore supplied the power and Elisa deployed the base station, Nokia said in a statement.


Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was quiet and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.5% in pre-market trade.

Plug Power (PLUG) rose nearly 4% as the company said it has received Q4 orders for class 1, class 2, and class 3 GenDrive systems at a Daimler car manufacturing facility in Alabama. Daimler deployed more than 400 Plug Power GenDrive systems in its material handling vehicles prior to the most recent orders, Plug said. Financial details on the Q4 orders were not disclosed.


Crude was down 1.9%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.9%. Natural gas was down 0.7% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.6%.

Gold was up 0.2%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.02%. Silver was down 0.4%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.5%.


Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was down 0.4% and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods (IYK) were inactive.

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were also quiet in pre-market trade.

Ford (F) and German peer Volkswagen could unveil an expansive partnership early next year as two companies leverage their strengths in a fast-changing automotive market, CNBC reported. The far-reaching alliance could see Ford and Volkswagen collaborate on electrified and self-driving vehicles. They would also look into combining marketing and distribution operations. The partnership could pave the way for the sharing of assembly plants in the US and in other markets. Volkswagen could also take on Ford's underutilized manufacturing facilities, sources told CNBC. F shares rose some 0.7% in early morning trade.

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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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