ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Point Lower Ahead of Holiday Weekend; Leading Indicators, Advance Services Data Still on Tap

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.3%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): +2.3%

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

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +0.4%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.7%

Broad Market Indicators

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

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a start in the negative territory as Wall Street looks ahead to the Presidents Day holiday.

Major indices had reached record highs in the past few days, lifted by President Donald Trump's proposed tax cuts and increased infrastructure spending. But stocks pulled back as Trump noted in a press conference Thursday that such tax reform proposals would only be implemented after Obamacare is replaced in March.

Looking ahead, the leading indicators for January and the Q4 report on advance services will be reported at 10 am ET.

Power Play: Health Care

Health care funds Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were flat. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was flat.

XTL Biopharmaceuticals (XTLB) was down 28.8% after it entered into definitive agreements with institutional investors to receive gross proceeds of $2.5 million through a registered direct offering of 1 million American Depository Shares (ADS). The ADSs will be sold at a price of $2.50 each. Additionally, for each ADS purchased by investors, the investors will receive an unregistered warrant to purchase one ADS with an exercise price of $4.10 per ADS. The warrants will be exercisable six months following the issuance date and will expire five and a half years from the issuance date. The offering is expected to close on or about Feb 23.

Winners and Losers


Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 0.5%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 1.4% and its bearish counterpart, FAZ was up 0.6%.

Moody's (MCO) was up 0.7% after it reported Q4 adjusted earnings of $1.23 per share, up from $1.09 per share in the prior year period and came in higher than the $1.14 per share Street estimate provided by Capital IQ. Revenues were $942.1 million, up from $865.9 million reported for the same period last year and came in higher than the $908.1 million Street estimate. For 2017, the company expects earnings to range from $5.15 to $5.30 per share, including a $0.15 benefit from an accounting change. The Street consensus calls for earnings of $5.07 per share.


Tech funds 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 quiet in pre-market trading . SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.

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

Airgain (AIRG) rose 11.8% after the company reported late Thursday it swung to an Q4 profit of $0.12 per share from a loss of $0.99 per share in the year-ago quarter, which was still shy of the $0.13 per share average of three analysts polled by Capital IQ. The developer of antenna products for vendors said revenues surged 35% year-over-year to $12.6 million and beat forecasts for $12.1 million.


Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was flat and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were down 0.3% pre-market.

Gastar Exploration (GST) was up 13.5% after the company said it has entered into a definitive securities purchase agreement with funds managed by affiliates of Ares Management, L.P. (ARES) that provides for $425 million in new financing. The financing includes a $250 million first lien secured term loan, 8.5% interest, maturing March 2022; $125 million second lien secured convertible notes, 6.0% interest, convertible, upon receipt of stockholder approval, at an initial conversion price of $2.21 per share at the option of the holder, maturing March 2022; and

29 million common shares issued at $1.7002 per share.


Crude was up 0.5%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.6%. Natural gas was flat while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.4%.

Gold was up 0.2%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.2%. Silver was down 0.4% while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.3%.


Consumer staples funds 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.

General Mills (GIS) was down 4.5% after reducing its sales and earnings outlook for fiscal 2017, which ends May 2017. The company said it now sees full-year 2017 sales down approximately 4% versus 2016's $16.6 billion, equating to around $15.9 billion. The Street is at $15.69 billion. Prior guidance in December was for a fall of between 3% and 4%, which in turn was a reduction from prior outlook of flat to down 2%. GIS attributes this sales decline to "a widening gap between the company's level of promotional activity and that of competitors in the U.S. yogurt and soup categories". Fiscal 2017 adjusted EPS are expected to increase 5%-7% in constant currency, versus prior guidance of an increase of 6%-8%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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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