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ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Mixed as Wall Street Digests Powell, Economic Data; Brexit Concerns Weigh

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

VelocityShares 3x Inverse Natural Gas ETN ( DGAZ ): +23.4%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.7%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -0.5%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.4%

Invesco QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.5%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were mixed. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was down 0.5%.

US stock futures were pointing to a mixed-to-lower open as Wall Street digested comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, as well as a slew of economic data releases. Geopolitical issues were also weighing on market sentiment, particularly developments on the U.K.'s plans to enact its exit from the European Union.

Powell, in a conversation with Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan late Wednesday, said that the US is facing global headwinds but was optimistic about the economy. He is scheduled to speak again in Houston, Texas Thursday at 11:00 am ET.

In news abroad, developments on Brexit are being closely watched as the resignation of two Cabinet ministers is adding pressure on UK Prime Minister Theresa May's stand on a Brexit agreement with the EU.

Back home, weekly jobless claims rose by 2,000 to 216,000, just above expectations for 210,000. Continuing claims rose for the first time in seven weeks to 1.68 million but are still at the lowest level since the early 1970s.

The Empire State manufacturing index rose 2.2 points to 23.3 in November versus the projected 20 reading. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index declined to a reading of 12.9 below the forecasts for a reading of 20.

Retail sales rose 0.8% in October, beating estimates for an increase of 0.6%. The increase follows declines in September and August.

Finally, the import price index for October rose by 0.5%; excluding fuel, the increase was smaller -- up 0.2%.

Power Play: Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was down 0.04% 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 down 0.8%.

uniQure N.V (QURE) rose more than 28% after the gene therapy company reported initial topline data from a phase 2b dose-confirmation study of AMT-061 for the treatment of patients with severe and moderately severe hemophilia B which showed that therapeutic levels of Factor IX activity were achieved and sustained in all three enrolled patients at six weeks after dosing. The company said it expects to submit data from the phase 2b trial to the US Food and Drug Administration and to the European Medicines Agency by the end of the year, and expects to start dosing in its phase 3 pivotal study in Q1 2019.

Winners and Losers

Financial

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

AGNC Investment (AGNC) fell nearly 3% after it said late Wednesday that it has priced a public offering of 40 million common shares to raise gross proceeds of $690.8 million. Underwriters have a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 6 million shares. Net proceeds will be used to finance the acquisition of agency securities, non-agency securities, other real estate-related assets and hedging instruments, and for other general corporate purposes.

Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.5% and other tech funds iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) and iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) were in the inactive.

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

Cisco (CSCO) rose nearly 4% after it reported Q1 earnings of $0.75 per share on a non-GAAP basis, up from $0.61 per share a year ago and better than the analyst consensus of $0.72 per share on Capital IQ. Revenue was $13.1 billion, up 8% from the $12.1 billion posted last year and ahead of expectations of $12.86 billion. For Q2, the company is guiding for earnings in the range of $0.71 to $0.73 per share, vs. expectations of $0.72 per share. Revenue growth is seen in the 5% to 7% range year-over-year.

Industrial

Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI) and other industral funds iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), and Vanguard Industrials (VIS) were inactive.

CDTi Advanced Materials (CDTI) plunged some 50% after the company said it will voluntarily delist its common stock from The Nasdaq Stock Market and deregister with the SEC. Q3 sales fell to $2.025 million from $3.48 million in the year-ago period and net loss from continuing operations narrowed to $0.20 per share from a loss of $0.35 last year.

Energy

Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was quiet and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.1%.

Whiting Petroleum (WLL) rose 0.6% after it said that Charles Rimer has been appointed as new COO, effective Nov. 15. Rimer previously served as senior vice president of global services for Noble Energy (NBL).

Commodities

Crude was up 0.3%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.3%. Natural gas was down 6.2% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 4.7%.

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

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was down 0.02% and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods (IYK) were inactive.

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was down 0.3% nd retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were also flat in pre-market trade.

JCPenney (JCP) was down almost 12% as the retailer posted a fiscal Q3 adjusted loss of $0.52 per share, wider than the loss of $0.35 per share in the comparable period a year ago. Analysts polled by CapIQ expected a loss of $0.56 per share. For the quarter ended Nov. 3 total revenue of $2.65 billion was down from $2.82 billion in the comparable period a year ago and missed the Street projection of $2.77 billion. Comparable sales decreased 5.4 % for the quarter. JCPenney withdrew previous full year earnings guidance based on the hiring of a new CEO and CFO. The company said it expects full year comparable store sales to be down low-single digits, revised from prior guidance expecting approximately flat comparable store sales. The company said it continues to expect to achieve positive free cash flow for the year.

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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