Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.36%
Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): -0.72%
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): +1.8%, further from year lows.
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -1.1%
PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.38% from near year lows.
Broad Market Indicators
Most broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, continue to slip into negative territory. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is down 0.4%. ETFs in the Healthcare and Consumer sectors were moderately outperforming ETFs in the broader market.
U.S. stocks continue to see weakness in the session's half, but have trimmed earlier losses. Concerns about a global economic slowdown are making a come back following weak manufacturing data out of China and the euro zone, and further underscored by a mixed bag of U.S. data. Earlier, the Labor Department reported that U.S. jobless benefits claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 382,000 - but was still better than economists' forecasts. The Philadelphia Fed factory index also beat expectations, slipping 1.9 in September, better than the 4.0 decline analysts had projected. On the other hand, mortgage rates dropped 3.49% to record lows, after the Federal Reserve's decision to bandage the ailing economy by buying housing-related debt.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is down 0.72%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is down 2.48%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is up 2.5%.
Among financial actives, Nomura Holdings (NMR) is down 2.34% following reports that it will be slashing its workforce in Europe and in Dubai as part of a restructuring program that aims to reduce the bank's costs by $1 billion. According to a report on CNBC, which cited at least three sources, the bank will cut about 30% in its European investment banking division, as well as closing its Swiss coverage. Reuters, on the other hand, reported that the bank will slash a third of its investment banking team of 12, in Dubai. The head of its investment banking business for Middle East and North Africa region, Scott Ferguson, will also be discharged from his position, the report added.
Tech ETFs are weakening in mid-day action, but are still in the higher end of their 52-week ranges: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), down 0.43%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), down 0.65%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), down 0.7%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 0.38%.
Among Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is down 1.75% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is down 1.3%.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is down 0.44%.
In sector news, Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (ASTI) shares are down near 30% after the company said it intends to commence a public offering of its common stock. Proceeds from such offering will be used for general corporate purposes, including working capital, operations and other general corporate purposes.
Energy ETFs are mostly joining the broader market lower: Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) has turned slightly negative%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is off 0.15%.
Among stocks, Denbury Resources Inc. (DNR) is up 4%, pulling back from earlier gains of some 8%, after it entered into an agreement to sell its Bakken assets in North Dakota and Montana to Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM). Denbury will receive $1.6 billion in cash, subject to closing adjustments, and ExxonMobil's operating interests in Webster Field in Texas and Hartzog Draw Field in Wyoming. XOM shares are up 0.56%.
Crude was up 0.29%; likewise, natural gas was up 0.44%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.41%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is down 0.18%.
Gold for December delivery was down 0.05% while silver was up 0.38%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.13%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.03%.
Healthcare ETFs are mostly firmer, nearing their year highs: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.20% to near year highs; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), up 0.14% and also near 52 week highs; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.05%, to near year highs. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is off 0.11% but still near year highs.
In corporate news, Rite Aid (RAD) is now down 3% after reporting a Q2 loss of $0.05 per share, vs. a year ago loss of $0.11 per share. Revenue was $6.2 bln, down from $6.3 bln last year. The analyst consensus was a loss of $0.08 per share on revenue of $6.2 bln, according to Capital IQ. Rite Aid has updated its FY13 guidance with sales expected to be between $25.1 bln and $25.4 bln, versus the consensus of $25.43 bln. Same store sales is expected to range from a decrease of 1% to an increase of 0.25% compared to FY12.
Power Play -
Consumer ETFs continue to firm up, outperforming the broader market, with most seeing fresh new 52-week highs: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.36%, with a new year high of $36.40; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.32%, with a new year high of $76.17; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.28%, with a new year high of $92.42.
Retail ETFs are slipping into negative territory: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), down 0.26%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), down 0.74%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), now down 0.8%, but earlier saw a new 52-week high of $45.27.
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