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ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Weaker As Street Digests PPI, Retail Sales Data; Business Inventories Still Ahead

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

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

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.7%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.5%

VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short Term ETN ( TVIX ): -3%

ProShares Trust Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF ( UVXY ): -2.6%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.5%.

US stock futures were pointing to a negative open as investors digested the latest batch of economic data releases.

The February producer price index headline was up 0.2%, with the core rate was up 0.2% as well. There were no revisions to January where gains of 0.4% were recorded for both inputs.

Meanwhile, February retail sales fell 0.1% versus the 0.4% expected increase while the ex-auto component was also up 0.2% versus the 0.4% expected. The 0.3% January decline was revised to a decline of 0.1%, and the unchanged sales ex-auto figure was nudged up to 0.1%.

Looking ahead, the January figure for business inventories will be released at 10 am ET.

Power Play: Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV) and other health care funds Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were quiet. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.04%.

Cesca Therapeutics (KOOL) jumped more than 10% after it said that its ThermoGenesis device subsidiary has signed a license agreement with IncoCell Tianjin Ltd. for CAR-T related and other cellular processing CDMO services. According to the terms of the agreement, ThermoGenesis has granted IncoCell an exclusive license to purchase and use, at a discounted purchase price, X-Series cellular processing research devices, consumables and kits to conduct CDMO operations in certain Asia Pacific countries. In exchange, ThermoGenesis is entitled to a percentage of IncoCell's gross contract development revenue, including any potential upfront payments, future milestones or royalty payments. IncoCell is a wholly owned subsidiary of China-based Boyalife Group. The territories covered under the agreement consist of China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.

Winners and Losers

Financial

The Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was flat. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 1.25 while its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was down 1%.

Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance (ARI) fell nearly 3% after it said it priced 13.5 million shares for gross proceeds of approximately $243.0 million. It has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2.025 million shares of common stock. The offering is expected to close on March 16.

Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.4% and other tech 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 quiet.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were also inactive.

Broadcom (AVGO) confirmed it has abandoned its plan to acquire rival chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) after US President Donald Trump blocked the deal citing national security risks. The $117 billion merger would have been the tech industry's largest ever. The Singapore-based Broadcom said it has "withdrawn and terminated its offer to acquire Qualcomm and has withdrawn its slate of independent director nominees for Qualcomm's 2018 annual meeting of stockholders." Broadcom on Monday said it would re-domicile, or move, to the US by April 3. AVGO shares rose some 0.7% while QCOM shares rose 0.3%.

Energy

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

EV Energy Partners (EVEP) sank nearly 66% after it said it has entered into a restructuring support agreement with certain holders of approximately 70% of its 8.0% senior notes due 2019 and lenders holding approximately 94% of the principal amount outstanding under its reserve-based lending facility. The agreement contemplates a comprehensive restructuring of the company's capital structure, to be implemented through a proposed pre-packaged plan of reorganization that will significantly deleverage the company's balance sheet. The company will commence the solicitation of votes to accept or reject the plan Wednesday and commence its prepackaged bankruptcy case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on or before April 8. Neither EnerVest nor EnerVest Operating is seeking chapter 11 bankruptcy relief.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.9%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.7%. Natural gas was down 1.4% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 1.5%.

Gold was down 0.02%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.1%. Silver was down 0.1%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.5%.

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.4% and other funds 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 also quiet in pre-market trading .

Vera Bradley (VRA) was up nearly 1% after the company reported slightly better-than-expected Q4 results, issued in-line guidance on Q1 and FY sales and forecast a narrower-than-expected EPS loss for Q1. Q4 adjusted EPS was $0.33, up from $0.28 a year earlier and a penny better than the consensus. Revenue slipped to $132.0 million from $134.8 million in the year-ago quarter but narrowly beat the $130.0 million average estimate. For Q1, Vera Bradley expects an adjusted loss of $0.08 to $0.10 per share with revenue of $84 million to $89 million. Analysts are expecting an adjusted loss of $0.13 per share and revenue of $89.1 million. For FY19, the company expects adjusted EPS of $0.35 to $0.45 per share and revenue of $405 million to $425 million. Analysts are forecasting adjusted EPS of $0.47 and revenue of $415.4 million.

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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