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ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Weaker as Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest Since Mid-July; FOMC Minutes, Alcoa Earnings Still Ahead

Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's pre-market session:

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY ): -0.3%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.9%

VIX Short-Term Futures ETN Ipath ( VXX ): +0.04%

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): -0.5%

iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund ( EWJ ): -0.1%

Broad-Market Indicators

Most broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, slipped. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.3%.

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a weaker open as investors remained cautious ahead of the minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting, to be released later at 2 pm ET, and ahead of earnings from Alcoa Inc. due after the close of trading.

In economic data, weekly jobless claims fell by 13,000 to 263,000 - the lowest level since mid-July. Continuing claims were up 9,000 from the prior week.

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Power Play: Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 0.8% while 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 down 0.7%.

Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX) was up 16.3% after it reported that NBI-98854, a highly selective small molecule VMAT2 inhibitor, showed a statistically significant reduction in tardive dyskinesia during the six-week clinical trial. The phase 3 trial included moderate to severe tardive dyskinesia patients with underlying schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar or major depressive disorder. Tardive dyskinesia refers to involuntary repetitive movements by patients, and most frequently occurs as the result of long-term or high-dose use of antipsychotic drugs. Neurocrine said the study met its primary endpoint, and submission of New Drug Application is planned for 2016.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was down 1.8%. Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 1.5% and its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 0.2%.

Deutsche Bank (DB) was up 0.6% after it said late Wednesday it expects to post a Q3 loss of EUR 6.2 billion ($7 billion) due to an impairment of all goodwill and certain intangibles in some of its units.

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 inactive. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was also unchanged.

Semiconductor ETFs SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were flat in pre-market trading .

PC maker Dell has been in discussions to buy IT services company EMC (EMC) in a deal that, if successful, could top Avago's (AVGO) $37 billion offer for Broadcom (BRCM), Reuters reported Thursday. No further details were provided yet, but Dell was said to be in talks with lenders for the funding of the all-cash purchase. EMC is reportedly under pressure as activist investor Elliott Management calls for a spin-off of VMware. EMC shares were up 3.2%.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was flat while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.2%.

SandRidge Energy (SD) was up 15.4% after it said it entered into privately negotiated purchase and exchange agreements under which it will repurchase $100 million aggregate principal amount of its senior unsecured notes for $30 million cash and exchange $300 million of senior unsecured notes into convertible notes.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.9%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.1%. Natural gas futures were up 0.5%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 1%. Gold was up 0.5% and SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.1%.

Consumer

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

Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY) was down 0.7% while SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were flat.

Domino's Pizza Inc (DPZ) was down 4.7% after reporting that fiscal Q3 earnings rose to $37.8 million or $0.67 per diluted share from $35.6 million or $0.63 a year ago, missing the $0.74 average estimate from analysts polled by Capital IQ. Revenue rose to $484.7 million from $446.6 million and missed the $487.5 million consensus estimate. Domestic same store sales rose 10.5% in the quarter while international same store sales rose 7.7%.

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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