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ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Mixed as Street Digests Econ Data; Await Possible Tarriffs on EU Aluminium, Steel

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

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

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +0.6%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.6%

iShares Inc iShares MSCI Brazil ETF ( EWZ ): +1.7%

VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short Term ETN ( TVIX ): -0.2%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.2%.

US stock futures were mixed ahead of the open, as Wall Street digested US regulators' move to rewrite the 'Volcker rule,' easing bars on banks making proprietary trades. Traders are also awaiting the Trump administration's decision on possible tarriffs on EU aluminum and steel.

In economic data news, personal income rose 0.3%, in line with expectations, following a revised increase of 0.2% in March; personal spending for April, meanwhile, rose 0.6% versus the expected 0.3% gain, and compared with the revised increase of 0.5% for March.

The personal consumption expenditure, or PCE, inflation data, which is the Federal Reserve's metric for its 2.0% inflation target, rose 0.2% in April; the core PCE, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.2%.

Weekly initial jobless claims fell 13,000 to 221,000, versus the consensus of 225,000. Continuing claims declined by 16,000 to 1.73 million.

Looking ahead, the Chicago PMI will be released at 9:45 am ET while the pending home sales index will be reported at 10 am ET.

Oil futures pulled back from gains in the previous session, ahead of the much-watched domestic oil inventories bulletin at 11 am ET, and natural-gas inventories report at 10:30 am ET from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Among Federal Reserve speakers, Atlanta chief Raphael Bostic will speak at 12:30 pm ET and then Fed Governor Lael Brainard will give a talk at 1 pm ET.

Power Play: Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.04% and 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 0.9% and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were inactive in pre-market territory.

Express (EXPR) jumped nearly 11% after it reported Q1 earnings of $0.01 per share, compared to a GAAP loss of $0.03 and adjusted loss of $0.05 per share in the comparable period a year ago. Analysts polled by CapIQ expected a loss of $0.02 per share. For the quarter ended May 5 total revenue of $479.4 million was up from $474.2 million in the comparable period a year ago and exceeded the Street projection of $460.8 million. Comparable sales increased 1%, compared to a 10% decrease in Q1 2017. Express said it expects Q2 earnings in the range of a loss of $0.02 per share to earnings of $0.02 per share on a reported basis. The company expects Q2 comparable sales in the range of a 1% decline to a 1% increase. For the full year the company expects GAAP earnings in the range of $0.37 to $0.47, up from prior guidance in the range of $0.32 to $0.46. The company continues to expect full-year comparable sales in the range of a 1% decline to a 1% increase.

Winners and Losers

Financial

The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.6%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.4% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was flat.

Citizens Financial Group (CFG) disclosed a deal to acquire the assets of Franklin American Mortgage Co., a Franklin, Tennessee-based, mortgage servicing and origination firm. As part of the pact, the company said it will purchase assets with a net book value of about $488 million for $511 million in cash, or roughly 1.1 times tangible book value. The deal will expand the company's off-balance sheet portfolio from $20.2 billion to about $61.6 billion, according to a statement. It triples the size of Citizens' off-balance sheet mortgage servicing portfolio, providing significantly more balance sheet leverage. The company said the transaction is set to deliver annual expense synergies of roughly $50 million by 2020, with total estimated after-tax integration costs of $30 to $45 million. It is expected to be modestly accretive to second half 2018 and approximately 3% accretive to 2020 earnings per share, with an earnback period of less than three years. The acquisition is also expected to reduce the company's Basel III common equity tier one ratio by about 18 basis points, while having no impact on planned share repurchases under Citizen's 2017 capital plan.

Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 0.2% 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.

Ciena (CIEN) fell some 7% after it reported fiscal Q2 earnings below Street views, despite topping revenue expectations. The company also announced the acquisition of Packet Design, a provider of network performance software, without disclosing the transaction's terms. Ciena reported adjusted earnings for the quarter ended April 30 of $0.23 per diluted share, down from $0.30 a year earlier. That was below the $0.30 Street view, as compiled by Capital IQ. The company reported fiscal Q2 revenue of $730.0 million, up from $707.0 million a year ago. That was above the $726.4 million Street view.

Energy

Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was flat and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 3.1%.

Hoegh LNG Partners LP (HMLP) Q1 adjusted earnings of $0.59 per unit, compared with the prior-year period's $0.42 per unit. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were expecting earnings per unit of $0.37. Revenue was $34.9 million, down from $35.31 million in the same quarter last year. The Street view was for revenue of $37.6 million.

Commodities

Crude was down 0.9%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 1.2%. Natural gas was up 0.8% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.7%.

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

Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 1.5% while other health care funds Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were flat. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.3% in pre-market trading .

Madrigal Pharmaceuticals (MDGL) shares surged more than 56% as the company announced that MGL-3196, a thyroid hormone receptor beta-selective agonist, attained liver biopsy endpoints in patients with biopsy-proven non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) at 36 weeks in a phase II clinical trial.

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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