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ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Track Europe, Asia Higher as Markets Shrug Off Ukraine Worries

Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at the close of Friday's regular session:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.16%

iShares S&P 500 ( IVV ): +0.18%

PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ): +0.37%

iShares Russell 2000 ( IWM ): +0.92%

iShares Russell 1000 Growth ( IWF ): +0.43%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (EEM): -0.14%

United States Oil Fund (USO): -0.25%

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): -0.06%

Select Financial Sector SPDRS (XLF): -0.05%

Pre-Market Movers

SPY, +0.30%

IWM, +0.52%

EEM, +0.89%

QQQ, +0.44%

TZA, -1.33%

Broad Market Indicators

Most broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, and IVV, were firmer in pre-market trading . Likewise, the actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) edged higher, up 0.44%.

U.S. stock futures are also higher ahead of Monday's open, with investors shrugging off concerns over Ukraine and instead focused on continued M&A activity and upbeat trading in Asian and European markets. In economic news in the U.S., the federal budget for April is due for release at 2 pm ET, while Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser will give opening remarks at a conference at 12 pm ET.

Power Play: Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were unchanged pre-market after seeing modest gains in the previous session.

Among stocks, Hillshire Brands (HSH) was up 3% after it said it will acquire Pinnacle Foods (PF) in a cash and stock transaction valued at $6.6 billion. Each share of Pinnacle Foods common stock will be exchanged for $18.00 in cash and 0.50 shares of Hillshire Brands common stock. The purchase price of $36.02 per share represents an 18% premium to the price of Pinnacle Foods' common stock based on the closing price on May 9, 2014. The merger is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings. By the end of year three, Hillshire Brands expects the combined company to achieve $140 million in estimated annual cost synergies, primarily derived from supply chain enhancements and the consolidation of overhead expenses, and annual EPS accretion in excess of 15%. The company also expects to realize incremental revenue growth opportunities based on its expanded brand portfolio and broader in-store reach. With this transaction, the company will also acquire Pinnacle Foods' tax assets with an estimated present value of approximately $390 million. PF shares were surging more than 20% in pre-market trade.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was flat. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.19%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 1.15%.

Among financial stocks, AIG (AIG) said it has narrowed its search for its next CEO to succeed Robert Benmosche to two of its executives, Peter Hancock and Jay Wintrob, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Hancock runs the global property-casualty business while Wintrob runs the life-insurance and retirement business.

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

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

In corporate news, NII Holdings (NIHD) was down 11% after it reported Q1 net loss from continuing operations of $376 million, or $2.19 per share compared with $207.5 million or $1.08 loss per share in the prior-year period. The Capital IQ analyst estimate is for $1.99 loss per share. Revenue was $970.2 million, down 27% from $1.33 billion in the same quarter last year. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.019 billion. The company reported a net loss of 52,000 subscribers for the quarter, bringing its quarter-end subscriber base to 9.4 million, a 4% decrease from a year ago.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were flat.

Among stocks, Concho Resources (CXO) reported that average production of 101.6 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day for Q1 2014, above the high end of its previous quarterly guidance range of 98.0 to 101.0 MBoepd. Adjusted net income was $106.6 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, for Q1 2014, as compared to $60.3 million, or $0.58 per diluted share, for Q1 2013. The Street expected earnings of $0.97 per share on revenue of $635 million, according to Capital IQ estimates.

The company also said it started a registered public offering of 6,000,000 shares of common stock. The company also expects to grant the underwriters an option to purchase up to 900,000 additional shares of stock.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.25%; natural gas was down 0.93. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.44% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.96%.

Gold was up 1.16% and silver was down 2.62%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 1.03% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 2.17%.

Health Care

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

In corporate news, Relypsa (RLYP) was up nearly 5% in recent pre-market trade after saying that a phase 1 onset-of-action study of its Patiromer drug met its primary endpoint in which an early onset of potassium lowering action was observed. "These topline results...support the rapid onset-of-action of patiromer and round out the drug's clinical story as a complement to our additional long-term studies, including chronic 12-month treatment data," chief medical officer Lance Berman said in a statement. Relypsa said it plans to submit a new drug application in Q3, 2014.

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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