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ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Modestly Higher Ahead of FOMC Meeting Conclusion, Yellen Press Conference

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Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Wednesday's pre-market session:

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.1%

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

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

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): +0.9%

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +0.3%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were inching higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.01%.

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a modestly higher open as Wall Street looked ahead to the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day policy meeting later, with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaking at a press conference at 2:30 pm ET.

Traders are expecting that the committee will provide details on a balance-sheet reduction that will start in October.

In economic data news, existing home sales for August will be released at 10 am ET.

Power Play: Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were flat in pre-market trading . Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was also inactive.

HTG Molecular Diagnostics (HTGM) rose 24% after the provider of instruments, reagents, and services for molecular profiling applications said the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued two patents covering its technology and applications of its technology. The company said the first patent, which expires in June 2033, claims a method of treating an indeterminate or atypical nevi that involves measuring the nucleic acid expression of certain biomarkers. The second patent, which expires in October 2033, claims a nuclease-protection-based method for targeted detection of single nucleotide variants.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.2%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) and its bearish counterpart, FAZ, were quiet.

Bank of Marin Bancorp (BMRC), parent company of Bank of Marin, said Wednesday that it has hired James Kimball for the newly created position of chief operating officer, effective Oct. 16. The company said that Kimball has more than 28 years of commercial banking experience and joins Bank of Marin from Wells Fargo Bank.

Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), 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 also inactive.

Adobe Systems (ADBE) was down almost 3% after it reported Q3 revenue of $1.84 billion, up 26% year-over-year and better than the analyst consensus of $1.817 billion on Capital IQ. Non-GAAP earnings were $1.10 per share, up from $0.75 per share in the year ago quarter and ahead of the Street view of $1.01 per share. The company expects Q4 revenue of about $1.950 billion, just ahead of the analyst consensus of $1.947 billion on Capital IQ. Non-GAAP earnings are seen at about $1.15 per share, vs. expectations of $1.10 per share.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.2%.

Halcon Resources (HK) said that it has agreed to sell its remaining non-operated assets in the Williston Basin to a private company for $104 million in cash, subject to customary closing conditions and adjustments. The company noted that in August, it closed on a $6 million cash sale of additional non-operated Williston Basin assets to a different party. These properties currently produce 1,891 Bbl/d of oil, 1,931 Mcf/d of gas and 65 Bbl/d of natural gas liquids.

Commodities

Crude was up 1%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.7%. Natural gas was down 0.03% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.1%.

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

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were inactive.

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 flat.

General Mills (GIS) fell nearly 6% after the company reported fiscal Q1 adjusted earnings were $0.71 per share, down 9% from a year earlier and below the $0.76 per share consensus. Revenues fell 3.5% year-over-year to $3.77 billion and were shy of the $3.79 billion average estimate. Looking ahead, the company continues to expect FY18 organic net sales to fall 1% to 2%, with constant-currency total segment operating profit seen flat to up 1%. General Mills also expects constant-currency adjusted EPS to increase 1% to 2% compared to FY17.

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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