Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Mostly Firmer, Stocks Mixed on Renewed Debt Ceiling, Fed Tapering Concerns

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

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY ): +0.07%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.29%

Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ): +3.2%

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ): +0.7%, nearer 52-week highs

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -1.3%, nearer 52-week lows

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, were mixed to just higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is up 0.06%.

U.S. stocks are seeing mixed trade too as the U.S. debt ceiling and tapering remain a concern for investors. In economic news, August durable orders rose 0.1%, beating expectations for a decline of 1.5%. New home sales for August were also higher, up 7.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000 - the fastest growth so far this year. This was also above expectations.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.7%, nearer its 52-week highs. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.7%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 1.16%.

Among financial stocks, Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) has edged down from near 52 week highs. It has priced $250 million of 2.55% senior notes due 2018 and $250 million of 4.05% senior notes due 2023. The company intends to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, which will include the redemption of $250 million of the outstanding principal amount of its existing 5.75% senior notes due September 2015.

Technology -

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 0.12%, near 52-week highs. Among other tech ETFs, 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 all firmer.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 0.14% while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.46%. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.

In sector news, Facebook (FB) was up near 1%, continuing to trade near its 52-week high. The stock was initiated with a Buy rating and a $60 price target by Canaccord. Late Tuesday, the stock caught some upside momentum in the day's trading on reports the Chinese government has included the company in a group of currently banned Internet sites that will be opened up to the public in a free-trade zone in Shanghai.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.4% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.5%.

In sector news, Noble Corporation (NE) was up 3% after the company said late Tuesday it is planning on establishing a separate business comprised of many of its standard specification drilling units, resulting in the creation of two separate offshore drilling companies.

Commodities -

Crude was down 0.0.07%, and United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.6%. Crude oil inventories had a build of 2.64 million versus the expected draw of 1.05 million. Natural gas was up 0.53%, and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.38%.

Gold was up 1.44.9%, while SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 1.1%. Silver was down 1.24%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 1%.

Consumer -

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was down 0.4%. Other consumer ETFs iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) were both weaker.

In sector news, J.C. Penney (JCP) is down 13% and has hit fresh 52 week lows as Reuters cited a spokeswoman as saying the company plans to hire about 35,000 temporary workers for the coming holiday season - roughly equal to its holiday-season hiring in 2011. The department store retailer didn't say how many holiday workers it hired in 2012.

Power Play -

Healthcare -

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was down 0.33%. Among other healthcare ETFs, Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were slightly down. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was slightly up.

In corporate news, MAKO Surgical (MAKO) was up more than 80%, earlier hitting a 52-week high of $29.59, after Stryker (SYK) said it will pay $30 per share for the robotic surgery company. The deal is valued at $1.65 billion in cash. SYK is off 2.2% to $69.27 per share.

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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