Active broad-market exchange-traded funds ahead of Thursday's regular session:
SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +0.5%
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.1%
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.4%
iShares Inc iShares MSCI Brazil ETF ( EWZ ): -2.9%
VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short Term ETN ( TVIX ): -0.9%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.1%.
US stock futures were mostly positive ahead of the regular session's open, with financial services companies among top gainers, tracking bond yields higher after hints from the European Central Bank that it is preparing its plans for exiting an aggressive quantitative-easing program; the plans will reportedly be revealed at its meeting next week.
In economic data news, new unemployment claims fell 1,000 to 222,000, versus forecasts for an increase of 4,000 to 225,000, according to data compiled by Econoday. Continuing claims rose 21,000 to 1.75 million but remained near the lowest level in decades.
Looking ahead, Q1 data on quarterly services will be out at 10 am ET, household debt numbers for Q1 will be reported at 12 pm ET and consumer credit for April is slated for 3 pm ET.
Power Play: Consumer
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) and other funds Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were flat.
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 inactive in pre-market territory.
Conn's (CONN) shares surged nearly 29% after the Texas-based retail chain posted fiscal Q1 adjusted earnings of $0.40 per share, up from $0.05 in the same period a year ago and topping the estimate of $0.27 from analysts polled by CapIQ. For the quarter ended April 30, total revenue of $358.4 million was up from $355.8 million in the same period a year ago and exceeded the Street projection of $355.1 million. Same store sales were down 3.5% for the quarter. For Q2 the company expects same store sales to be flat to up 3%.
Winners and Losers
The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.5%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.8% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was down 0.7%.
Deutsche Bank (DB) rose some 1% after Bloomberg News reported that the bank is reducing its onshore sales and derivatives coverage in individual markets across the Asia-Pacific as it attempts to reorganize its equities operations in the region. The report cited a source familiar with the matter. The investment bank plans to concentrate on prime finance and electronics equities in the region. The move will result in unspecified staff reductions. The restructuring of the Asian equity sales force was done "to ensure that we are more closely coordinating our efforts across our wider platform," the bank said in a memo seen by Bloomberg News.
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 0.6% and other tech funds 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.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were both flat.
Facebook (FB) fell marginally after The Associated Press said the social media giant is collaborating with news organizations such as ABC, CNN, and Univision to develop original news programs that will appear in its Watch video service. The programs, which will be funded by Facebook and exclusively appear in the social networking site, is part of the company's efforts to promote "trustworthy" and "informative" news as well as restore user trust. This comes after Facebook announced that it will shut down its trending news section. The new shows will be available in the US this summer. Facebook did not disclose how much it is paying for the new shows, The Associated Press said.
Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was flat and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.4%.
Ferrellgas Partners (FGP) shares fell nearly 5% after the propane distributor reported fiscal Q3 earnings of $0.18 per diluted share, up from $0.09 a year ago. That missed the Street estimate of $0.24 per share of four analysts polled by Capital IQ. For the quarter ended April 30, total revenue of $515.8 million was down from $538.1 million a year ago. That missed the Street projection of $612.1 million, with three analysts polled.
Crude was up 0.9%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.4%. Natural gas was up 2.1% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2.8%.
Gold was up 0.3%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.3%. Silver was up 1.2%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 1.2%.
Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 0.3% and other health care funds Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were flat. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was inactive.
Proteostasis Therapeutics (PTI) fell nearly 29% after it said late Wednesday its ongoing 14-day dosing study of PTI-801 in Cystic Fibrosis patients on background Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) therapy showed positive results. The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company said the results showed statistically significant improvement in sweat chloride, body mass index, weight and blood glucose, adding that the treatment also led to a statistically significant improvement in blood glucose levels and the reversal of hyperglycemia in a diabetic CF subpopulation. But the firm also said overcoming the typical acute drop in FEV1 associated with lumacaftor exposure, an improvement in ppFEV1 was observed across all dose cohorts, although the change was not statistically significant.
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