Active broad-market exchange-traded funds ahead of Thursday's regular session:
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.3%
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.02%
iShares Inc iShares MSCI Brazil ETF ( EWZ ): +0.1%
iPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures ETN ( VXX ): -0.7%
VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): -1.1%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.1%.
US stock futures mixed to lower ahead of the opening bell as Wall Street digested meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve, which showed that most Fed officials supported another interest-rate hike in September as long as the economy was strong.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell will give a speech at the Fed's annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming later Thursday.
In economic data news, weekly jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 210,000 versus forecasts for a 215,000 reading. Continuing claims were more or less flat at 1.73 million.
Meanwhile, existing home sales for July slipped 0.7% to seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.34 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. This compares with forecasts for 5.4 million, and is the lowest pace since February 2016.
Looking ahead, flash readings of Markit's manufacturing PMI and services PMI for the month of August will both be released at 9:45 am ET.
Power Play: Consumer
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) and other funds Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were flat.
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 inactive in pre-market trade.
Children's Place (PLCE) rose more than 5% after it said its fiscal Q2 adjusted earnings were $0.70 per diluted share, down from $0.86 a year ago. But that result was above the Capital IQ mean estimate of analysts of $0.59. Sales grew 20% to $448.7 million from $373.6 million for the quarter ended Aug. 4. That topped estimates for $427.9 million. The company's board authorized a dividend of $0.50 per share, payable on Sept. 17 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Sept. 5. It raised its full year adjusted earnings outlook to $8.09 to $8.29 from $7.95 to $8.20 per diluted share. That was above the Street's view of $8.07. Sales are seen between $1.95 billion to $1.96 billion, above forecasts for $1.93 billion. This guidance assumes a positive mid-single digit comparable retail sales increase. Q3 EPS are seen between $2.97 to $3.07. Estimates are for adjusted earnings of $2.99 per diluted share, and GAAP earnings of $3.04.
Winners and Losers
The Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was down 0.1%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) were flat.
LexinFintech (LX) gained more than 10% after reporting increased earnings and revenues for Q2, while cutting its loan origination guidance for 2018. Adjusted net income for the period was RMB502 million ($73 million), up from RMB57.3 million for the same quarter last year. Revenues also grew year-over-year to RMB1.80 billion from RMB1.30 billion. Two analysts polled by Capital IQ expected Q2 sales of RMB1.73 billion. For 2018, the company now expects loan originations to be in the range of RMB65 billion - RMB75 billion, down from the previous target of RMB80 billion.
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was flat 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 inactive.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were both flat.
Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) was up more than 4% after it said fiscal Q1 GAAP EPS were RMB3.30 ($0.50) and non-GAAP diluted EPS was RMB8.04 ($1.22). The CapIQ mean was for GAAP EPS of $0.28 and normalized EPS of $1.24. Sales for the quarter ended June 30 rose 61% year-over-year to RMB80.92 billion ($12.23 billion), topping estimates for $12.02 billion.
Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was inactive and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.03%.
Berry Petroleum (BRY) reported Q2 adjusted net income of $9.2 million, compared with a loss of $4.8 million in the same period a year ago. Total revenue of $137.4 million was up from $101.9 million in the same period a year ago. The company said it will pay a dividend of $0.12 per share, representing its first regular quarterly dividend. The dividend will pro-rated for the period from July 25, resulting in a payment of $0.09 per share. The company's shares began trading on the Nasdaq on July 26.
Crude was up 1.8%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.1%. Natural gas was up 0.2% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was flat.
Gold was up 0.6%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.6%. Silver was up 0.3%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.9%.
Health Care SPDR (XLV) and other health care funds Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were inactive. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was also quiet in pre-market trading .
Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) said it signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. for the development and commercialization of a fully human monoclonal antibody against P-selectin. Global Blood plans to develop inclacumab as a treatment for vaso-occlusive crises in patients with sickle cell disease, according to a statement. Under the terms, the firm will be responsible for all development, manufacturing, and commercialization of inclacumab worldwide. Roche will receive an upfront payment of $2.0 million and is eligible to receive up to about $125 million in development and commercialization milestone payments. Additionally, Roche is eligible to receive tiered royalties based on net revenues for inclacumab.
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