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ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Point to Negative Open Following George Comments; Street Mulls Data onJobless Claims, Durable Goods Orders

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

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +0.1%

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.1%

Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bear 3X Shares ( DUST ): +398.1%

ProShares Trust Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF ( UVXY ): +2.2%

Broad-Market Indicators

Most broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, were lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.2%.

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a lower open following Kansas City Fed President Ester George's statement that "it is time to move" - referring to a possible interest rate hike. However, she also said that the increase should be gradual.

The comments by George, who is a voting member of Federal Open Market Committee, comes ahead of the Fed's annual economic policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

In economic data, orders for durable goods rose 4.4% in July, better than the forecasts for an increase of 3.6%. Weekly jobless claims fell by 1,000 to 261,000 - still near post-recession lows - versus expectations for claims to total 264,000.

Still on tap, a preliminary reading on Markit's services purchasing managers index for August will be released at 9:45 am ET.

Power Play: Consumer

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

Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY) and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were flat.

Tiffany & Co (TIF) was up 6% after it reported Q2 earnings of $0.84 per share, compared with the prior-year period's $0.86 per share. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were expecting EPS of $0.72. Revenue was $931.6 million, from $990.5 million in the same quarter last year. The Street view was for revenue of $931.4 million. Comparable store sales declined 8%. The company maintained its guidance for fiscal 2016 of worldwide net sales declining by a low single-digit percentage from the prior year and EPS declining by a mid-single-digit percentage from 2015's adjusted earnings of $3.83 per diluted share.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was down 0.2%. Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 0.7% and its bearish counterpart, FAZ was unchanged.

SouFun Holdings (SFUN) was up 6.3% after it reported a narrower-than-estimated loss in Q2 as revenue surged. Shares rose in pre-bell trading. Loss per ADS was $0.09, for the April-to-June period, compared to $0.04 for the year-ago period. Non-GAAP fully diluted loss per ADS was $0.08. That is narrower than the $0.11 loss average estimate of analysts surveyed by Capital IQ. Q2 revenue increased 34.2% year-on-year to $287.0 million, beating the analyst consensus of $267.8 million. The company reiterated its 2016 revenue guidance of around $1.149 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 30.0%.

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 inactive. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was also unchanged.

Semiconductor ETFs SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were flat in pre-market trading .

HP (HPQ) was down 5.3% after it reported late Wednesday Q3 non-GAAP EPS were $0.48, topping the CapIQ mean for $0.45. Sales were $11.9 billion, down 4% from the year-ago period but above estimates for $11.49 billion. Q4 non-GAAP EPS are seen between $0.34 to $0.37, below forecasts for $0.40. FY non-GAAP EPS are seen between $1.59 to $1.62, in line with estimates for $1.61.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 1.1% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.1%.

Seadrill (SDRL) was up 4.7% after the company said Q2 EBITDA fell to $557 million in from $651 million in the year-ago period but still beat expectations for $512 million in a Reuters poll of analysts. Net profit fell to $260 million from $379 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue dropped to $868 million from $1.15 billion last year. It said it expects Q3 EBITDA to drop to $380 million, as eight of its rigs are coming off contracts or will be idle for a longer period than in the previous quarter, and three of its rigs will be paid lower rates.

Commodities

Crude was down 0.4% while natural gas futures were up 0.5%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.6% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 1.1%.

Gold was down 0.5% and SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.4%. Silver was down 0.1% while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.1%.

Health Care

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 up 0.5%.

Cesca Therapeutics (KOOL) converted a senior secured three-year convertible debenture of $12.5 million of principal, and $8.25 million of interest, to more than 6.1 million shares of its common stock. The conversion was effected in accordance with the previously announced purchase agreement between Cesca Therapeutics and Boyalife USA. It releases Cesca from all security interest and liens previously placed against its assets, and eliminates Boyalife's entitlement to certain participation rights in, or consent rights over, potential future equity and debt financings. As a result of the conversion, Boyalife's total holding in Cesca will rise to more than 6.8 million shares, or 70% of shares outstanding. The company's board of directors will increase to seven members, of which Boyalife will have the right to designate three.

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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