ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Turn Weaker as Jobless Claims, May Retail Sales Miss Forecasts; April Business Inventories Still Ahead

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.34%

iShares S&P 500 ( IVV ): -0.32%

PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ): -0.39%

iShares Russell 2000 ( IWM ): -0.49%

iShares Russell 1000 Growth ( IWF ): -0.23%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (EEM): -0.34%

United States Oil Fund (USO): -0.08%

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): +0.02%

Select Financial Sector SPDRS (XLF): -0.66%

Pre-Market Movers

SPY, -0.02%

EEM, +0.18%

IWM, -0.19%

GDX, +0.38%

QQQ, +0.27%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV gave up earlier modest gains and slipped lower in pre-market trading Thursday. Meanwhile, actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.27%.

U.S. stock futures also slipped lower as data on weekly jobless claims and May retail sales missed expectations. The Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims rose slightly by 4,000 to 317,000 - versus the 309,000 expected by economists. Continuing claims increased by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 2.61 million. Meanwhile, retail sales rose 0.3% in May, missing the forecast for an increase of 0.6%. The gains were driven by higher demand for cars and trucks and an increase in business at home-improvement stores. April retail sales were revised up to 0.5% growth from 0.1%. Also out this morning, import prices rose 0.1% in May compared to a 1.0% decline in April while export prices were up 0.1% compared to a 0.4% decline the preceding month. Economists had expected both to be up 0.2% in May.

Looking ahead, business inventories for April will be released at 10 am ET. Economists expect that inventories would have grown at the same pace in March, which was 0.4%.

Power Play: Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) are unchanged and all closed higher on Wednesday. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was also inactive.

In corporate news, Zalicus (ZLCS) jumped 55% after Epirus Switzerland announced clinical data from a Phase 3 study of the efficacy and safety of BOW015, a biosimilar infliximab, in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study in severe RA patients was designed as an equivalence trial comparing BOW015 to Remicade. BOW015 achieved a week sixteen ACR20 response rate of 89.8%, compared to 86.4% for Remicade, an outcome which met its pre-specified statistical endpoint.

Zalicus entered into a definitive merger agreement with Epirus Biopharmaceuticals on April 15, 2014, under which Epirus will merge with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zalicus in an all-stock transaction.

Winners and Losers


Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was flat. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.04%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 0.17%.

Among sector news, American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP) said it executed of a purchase and sale agreement to sell its multi-tenant shopping center portfolio for $1.975 billion in cash to a joint venture between affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII and DDR Corp. (DDR). The sale is expected to close by Q3 2014.


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 flat.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were unchanged after hitting record highs in the previous session.

In corporate news, Intel (INTC) was down 0.39% following a Reuters report that said the computer-chip maker lost a court battle against a $1.4 billion fine charged for allegedly trying to thwart rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) by giving rebates to PC makers for buying the most of their computer chips from Intel. The company also reportedly paid Media Saturn Holding to carry only computers with its chips.


Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was flat, while and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.32%.

Among stocks, CONSOL Energy (CNX) was up 3% after the company and its Marcellus Shale joint-venture partner, Noble Energy (NBL) said they intend to form a publicly traded master-limited partnership to provide midstream-gathering services for production from their jointly owned acreage in the Marcellus Shale. NBL shares were up 1%.

The companies said they have confidentially submitted a draft registration statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of the common units of the MLP, with the IPO expected late in Q3 or early in Q4 of this year. Following the closing of the IPO, both companies will control the general partner of the MLP, which will own the incentive distribution rights, and will collectively own a majority of the limited partner interests of the MLP.


Crude was up 1.92%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 1.83%. Natural gas was up 0.80% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.56%.

Gold was up 0.42%, and silver was up 0.56%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.37% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.38%.


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

Among stocks, bebe stores (BEBE) said CEO Steve Birkhold has resigned effective today and the board has appointed former Jackson Hole Group CEO Jim Wigget as interim CEO of the company. bebe said it will start the search for a permanent CEO and didn't say why Birkhold is leaving. Wigget has provided advisory services to bebe over the past five years.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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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