Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Monday's pre-market session:
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): -1.3%
SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +0.5%
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.4%
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.4%
PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.4%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.4%.
U.S. stock futures were on track to open in the positive territory. Trading volume for this shortened session is expected to be light, but investors will be focusing on Markit's and ISM's June figures for their manufacturing indexes, due at 9:45 am ET and 10 am ET, respectively. Construction spending for May will also be released at 10 an ET.
Crude oil futures rose following Baker Hughes' weekly oil rig count, which showed a drop. For the past several weeks, numbers of active rigs have been increasing.
Power Play: Health Care
Health care funds Health Care SPDR (XLV) was down 0.1% while 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 flat.
Opexa Therapeutics (OPXA) rose 35.4% after the company said in a regulatory filing Monday it entered into an agreement and plan of merger and reorganization with Acer Therapeutics Inc., with Acer becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opexa and the surviving corporation of the merger. Under the merger agreement, each outstanding share of Acer common stock will be converted into the right to receive approximately one share of common stock of Opexa, which amount is subject to adjustment prior to closing of the merger upon the occurrence of specified events, including to account for any additional shares that Acer may issue before closing and for Opexa's net cash balance at closing. No fractional shares will be issued in connection with the Merger and Opexa will pay cash in lieu of any such fractional shares.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.5%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.2% and its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was flat.
Bankrate (RATE) shares rose 9% after it said it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Red Ventures in a transaction valued at $1.4 billion. Under the terms of the deal, Bankrate shareholders will receive $14 per share in cash. The transaction is expected to close in 2017, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 0.1% and other tech stocks 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 quiet in pre-market trading . SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was inactive.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were flat.
Nice (NICE) said UK-based Metro Bank has selected its Workforce Management solution to support its UK operations. Metro Bank will use Workforce Management to schedule agents based on their specific skill sets. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was quiet in pre-market trading while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.5%.
American depository shares of Statoil (STO) and Eni (E) were up 1% after Statoil said the companies made an oil discovery in the Kayak well in the Johan Castberg licence in the Barents Sea. The discovery holds between 25 and 50 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents and also opens other exploration opportunities in the Johan Castberg development area, Statoil said. Separately, Statoil said it will soon start a three-well exploration drilling program on the UK continental shelf. The company said Transocean's (RIG) Spitsbergen semi-submersible rig will spud the first Mariner Segment 9 well in early July, which could provide additional resources and increase the extent of the Mariner Field.
Crude was up 0.7%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 1.1%. Natural gas was down 0.4% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.7%.
Gold was down 0.4%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.2%. Silver was down 0.5% while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.5%.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were unchanged.
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 also flat.
Target (TGT) was down 0.5% after it said it is launching four new brands, three of which are focused on apparel and one dedicated to home furnishings. The retailer said the three apparel brands - A New Day, Goodfellow & Co, and Joy Lab - will debut in September and the Project 62 home goods brand will also launch in September. Earlier in 2017, the company said it would roll out 12 new, private-label brands, according to reports.
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