Active broad-market exchange-traded funds ahead of Thursday's regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -1.6%
SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -1.6%
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -1.3%
Invesco QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -1.6%
ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ ( SQQQ ): +4.5%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was down 1.6%.
US stock futures edged lower ahead of the open, following a massive rally the previous session, as the turmoil in Washington and trade concerns once again took center stage.
The partial government shutdown continues, with no end to the the impasse over government funding, particularly for the border wall. The Senate is expected to come into session this afternoon.
Meanwhile, the US will be sending a delegation on Jan. 7 to China to hold trade negotiations.
In economic data news, new unemployment claims came in at 216,000 in the Dec. 22 week vs the 217,000 level expected, according to data compiled by Econoday.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index, out at 9 am ET, rose 0.3% for October, slightly topping estimates.
Looking ahead, consumer confidence will be reported at 10 am ET and is expected to come in at 134.0 for December vs November's 135.7 level.
Power Play: Consumer
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was down 0.9% and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods (IYK) were inactive.
Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were quiet in pre-market trade.
Amira Nature Foods (ANFI) rose more than 34% after it said it has secured a $30 million contract to supply third-party branded basmati rice to a repeat customer operating in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. The rice producer added that it expects to recognize the benefit of this contract in fiscal 2020, ending March 31, 2020.
Winners and Losers
The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 1.4%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 4.4% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (FAZ) was up 4% in pre-market trade.
Jernigan Capital (JCAP) said late Wednesday it has acquired the membership interest of its developer partner in a recently completed self-storage facility in Bay Shore, New York for an undisclosed figure. The multi-story facility has 105,347 net rentable square feet and had a physical occupancy of approximately 56.5% as of Dec. 21. With this transaction, Jernigan now has 100% ownership of seven on-balance sheet development investments.
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 1.8% and other tech funds iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) and iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) were inactive.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were both flat.
NexTech AR Solutions said that its development team has started integrating IBM Watson's (IBM) Machine Learning algorithms into its patent-pending artificial intelligence (AI)-powered augmented reality (AR) e-commerce platform. According to NexTech, the platform will now be able to offer scanning of the body, hands and feet as well as facial features, to understand an individual shopper's style, sizes and preferences, as well as creating AR holograms acting as personal shopping assistants. It expects the AR eCommerce platform to exit beta and have a commercial launch in January of next year, with AI features beginning to be introduced the following month.
Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was inactive and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 1.6% in pre-market trade.
JinkoSolar Holding Company (JKS) said it has been selected to supply solar modules for a 60-megawatt solar farm in Kampong Speu, Cambodia. Installation work for the project is expected to begin in January 2019, with expected completion in December 2019.
Crude was down 2.3%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 3%. Natural gas was up 0.1% while the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2%.
Gold was up 0.2%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.7%. Silver was up 0.1%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.1%
Health Care SPDR (XLV) was down more than 1% while other health care funds including Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (IYH) were flat in pre-market trade. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 0.1%.
BioXcel Therapeutics (BTAI) rose more than 15% after it said that the FDA has granted "fast track designation" for its investigational drug BXCL501, a proprietary sublingual film of dexmedetomidine, for the treatment of acute agitation. BioXcel said it is currently conducting an early-stage study placebo-controlled, single dose, dose-escalation study of BXCL501. The study is expected to enroll up to 60 healthy adult volunteers across various dosing groups. The primary endpoints are pharmacokinetics and safety. The company said it expects to report top-line data from the study in H1.
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