Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at the close of Tuesday's regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.01%
iShares S&P 500 ( IVV ): -0.02%
PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ): +0.17%
iShares Russell 2000 ( IWM ): +0.96%
iShares Russell 1000 Growth ( IWF ): -0.06%
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (EEM): +0.53%
United States Oil Fund (USO): +0.26%
SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): +0.61%
Select Financial Sector SPDRS (XLF): +0.61%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were lower pre-market Wednesday. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was down 0.41%.
U.S. stock futures were weaker following the World Bank's reduced global growth forecast for the year, now seeing an increase to 2.8% from the previous growth forecast of 3.2%. It attributed the cut to a harsh winter along with conflicts in Ukraine region. There are no economic news on the calendar for today.
Power Play: Technology
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.55% in pre-market trading and iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) was down 0.50% while other tech funds 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.
In corporate news, Synaptics (SYNA) was up nearly 20% in pre-market trade after it said it expects Q4 revenue in the range of $300 to $310 million, above its prior guidance of $275 to $295 million and ahead of the analyst consensus of $286 million on Capital IQ. SYNA also said Tuesday after the close that it would buy Renesas SP Drivers, for JPY 48.5 billion ($475 million) . For the year ended March 2014, Renesas SP Drivers' revenue and cash flow were $650 million and $100 million. The acquisition will be immediately accretive to SYNA's non-GAAP EPS.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was down 0.39%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 1.69%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 1.24%.
Among sector news, H&R Block (HRB) was up more than 4% pre-market after it reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations and revenue in line with forecasts. Net income from continuing operations was $929.1 million, or $3.36 a share, compared with $688.9 million, or $2.51 a share a year ago and topping analysts' forecasts for $3.23, according to Capital IQ. Revenues increased to $2.5 billion from $2.2 billion a year ago and in line with estimates.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were flat.
Among stocks, BioFuel Energy (BIOF) was up 16% after saying it has agreed to buy the equity interests of JBGL Builder Finance and certain subsidiaries of JBGL Capital from Greenlight Capital and James Brickman for $275 million in cash and stock. The cash portion of the price will be funded from the proceeds of a planned $70 million rights offering and approximately $150 million in debt financing provided to the company by Greenlight.
Crude was edging higher, up 0.15%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.16%. Natural gas was down 0.11% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.52%.
Gold was leaning higher, up 0.29%, and silver was up 0.38%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.22% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.33%.
Health Care SPDR (XLV) iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) are unchanged and all closed higher on Tuesday. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 0.92% in pre-market.
In corporate news, Portola Pharmaceuticals (PTLA) shares were up 7% after saying a phase 2 proof-of-concept study showed that its Andexanet Alfa immediately reversed the anticoagulation activity of enoxaparin, a low molecular weight heparin and standard of care in venous thromboembolism prevention, in healthy volunteers.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) were flat.
Among stocks, coffee retailer Starbucks (SBUX) slipped 0.84% in Wednesday's pre-market session, after the European Commission said it opened in-depth investigations into its tax treatments by Ireland and the Netherlands, respectively. Technology giant Apple (AAPL) was also a subject of the investigation.
The European Commission is also probing the taxation of Fiat Finance and Trade by Luxembourg, the European Commission said, as it unveiled the trio of investigations, which are to examine whether decisions by tax authorities in the respective countries regarding the companies comply with European Union rules on state aid.
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