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ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Strain to Recover from Weakness Sparked by Bond-Market Woes; Street Mulls Jobless Claims, PPI Data

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

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.1%

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

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

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): -0.9%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.3%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were mostly higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.3%.

US stock futures were mostly lower, struggling to recover from a pullback in the previous session -- the first this year -- which was prompted by reports that China will be cutting back on U.S. bond buys. However, this has now been dismissed by China's foreign exchange regulator as "wrong information" or "fake news."

Wall Street is digesting a couple of economic data reports: weekly jobless claims climbed by 11,000 to 261,000 -- the highest level since mid-September last year. Forecasts were for initial jobless claims to rise to 248,000. Continuing claims dropped by 35,000 to 1.87 million.

The producer price index rose 2.6% last year, even after a small decline of 0.1% in December. The core PPI also slid 0.1% in December.

Looking ahead, data on the Federal budget will be released at 1 pm ET.

Power Play: Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.1% while other 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 flat.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was flat while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.6%.

Progress Software (PRGS) rose some 9% after the a software developer said that for fiscal Q1 ending Feb. 28, it anticipates non-GAAP EPS in the range of $0.46 to $0.48 and revenue in the range of $90 million to $93 million. Analysts had forecast EPS of $0.38 and revenue of $92 million, according to Capital IQ data. For fiscal Q4 ended Nov. 30, the company reported non-GAAP EPS increased to $0.67, from $0.62 in the year-ago period. Analysts had projected a drop to $0.60. Fiscal Q4 non-GAAP revenue decreased 1% to $116.3 million, but beat the analyst consensus of $114.3 million.

Winners and Losers

Financial

The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.6%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.2% and its bearish counterpart FAZ was flat.

PNC Financial Services Group (PNC) rose 0.9% after it said it will redeem all of the $1 billion principal amount of outstanding senior notes due Feb. 23, 2018 issued by PNC Bank NA. The redemption price will be $1,000 per $1,000 in principal amount, plus any accrued and unpaid distributions to the redemption date of Jan. 24.

Energy

Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was flat and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.5%.

SPI Energy (SPI) fell more than 2% after the Hong Kong-based provider of photovoltaic solutions said it has received a notification letter from the listing qualifications department of the Nasdaq Stock Market on Jan. 5 indicating that the company is not currently in compliance with Nasdaq's listing rules for continued listing. Nasdaq cited the company's failure to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission a report of foreign private issuer on form 6-K including an interim balance sheet and income statement as of the end of its most recently completed Q2. In accordance with listing rules, the company was required to file such form 6-K no later than Dec. 31. It has not yet filed the required form 6-K. The company has 60 days, until March 6, to submit a plan to regain compliance with the listing rules.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.5%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.7%. Natural gas was up 1.6% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2.6%.

Gold was up 0.1%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.3%. Silver was down 0.2%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.2%.

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), 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 quiet in pre-market trade.

KB Home (KBH) rose 4.5% after it reported late Wednesday fiscal Q4 EPS increased to $0.84, in the three months ended Nov. 30, from $0.40, in the year-ago period, exceeding the $0.77 average estimate of analysts surveyed by Capital IQ. Fiscal Q4 revenue increased 18% to $1.4 billion, also surpassing the analyst consensus of $1.356 billion.

Health Care

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

MEI Pharma (MEIP) rose more than 9% after it said that the European Medicines Agency has granted an orphan drug designation to pracinostat, a drug candidate for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia in adult patients unfit to induction chemotherapy. The designation makes the company eligible to certain incentives offered by the European Union to develop the therapy, including a 10-year market exclusivity once approved. Pracinostat is being developed under an exclusive license, development and commercialization agreement with Switzerland-based Helsinn. The drug also received a breakthrough therapy designation in the United States.

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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