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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Continue to Trade Higher as Retailers Rally on Strong Holiday Sales

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +2.2%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +1.5%

ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ ( SQQQ ): -9.9%

Invesco QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +3.4%

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

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 3.4%.

US stocks extended their gains into the session's half, with upbeat holiday sales data fueling strength in the retail sector. Assurances by President Donald Trump that stocks were a bargain and that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's jobs were safe also helped lift market sentiment.

In economic data news, home prices improved 0.4% in October according to a monthly survey from Case-Shiller, while the Richmond Fed manufacturing index plunged to negative 8 in December from 14 the month prior, its biggest monthly decline on record.

Power Play: Energy

Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was up 2.9% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 2.8%.

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) rose nearly 19% after it was disclosed that the company's chairman emeritus, Archie Dunham, purchased another 2.1 million shares. The shares were purchased on Dec. 21 at an average price of $1.965 per share, bringing the total purchase price to approximately $4.1 million. Dunham currently owns 9,347,375 shares in the oil and gas exploration company.

Winners and Losers

Financial

The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 1.8%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was p 6.2% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was down 6.1%.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (MS) $10 million over failures found in its anti-money laundering program. The Wall Street-funded watchdog said Morgan Stanley didn't "devote sufficient resources to review" its automated anti-money laundering surveillance system's alerts and that the automated system itself "did not receive critical data from several systems, undermining the firm's surveillance of tens of billions of dollars of wire and foreign currency transfers." Morgan Stanley's monitoring of customer deposits and penny stock trades was also found lacking. In particular, it had divided monitoring responsibility between departments "without reasonable coordination among them," with the company mainly relying "on its customers' representations that the penny stock they sought to deposit was not restricted from sale." The investment bank settled the matter without admitting or denying the charges. MS shares rose nearly 3%.

Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 3.3%, while tech funds iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) and iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) were in the green.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 2.6% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 2.8%.

Intel (INTC) rose nearly 3% after Reuters reported that the company obtained ILS700 million ($185 million) from the Israeli government for its planned $5 billion expansion in Israel. Earlier this year, the US chipmaker submitted plans to upgrade its Kiryat Gat manufacturing plant, which operates in the southern part of the country. The company is considered to be one of the biggest employers and exporters in Israel. The government expects Intel to hire 250 new employees for its local operations and make ILS2.1 billion in local purchases, according to the report. Economy Minister Eli Cohen told a business conference in Jerusalem last week that the semiconductor maker is planning to boost its Israeli operations further in the coming year with additional investments, Reuters said.

Commodities

Crude was up 8%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 3.7%. Natural gas down 0.6% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 2%.

Gold was up 0.3%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.01%. Silver was up 2.5%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 1.6%.

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.9% and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods (IYK) were higher.

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was up 3.6% while retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were firmer.

Blue Apron Holdings (APRN) rose nearly 6% following a report on The Wall Street Journal that the company has started a partnership with WW Inc. (WTW), formerly known as Weight Watchers International, which offers possible access to millions of consumers who are interested in healthy eating. Brad Dickerson, the CEO of Blue Apron, told The Journal that the deal will help the company stabilize its customer count without the requirement of spending millions of dollars on promotions and advertising.

Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 2% while other health care funds including Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (IYH) were higher. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 4.2%.

Immunomedics (IMMU) and Johnson Matthey said that they have decided to expand their long-term master supply agreement under which Johnson Matthey will continue to scale the manufacturing of CL2A-SN-38, the drug-linker that is a key component of Immunomedics' metastatic triple-negative breast cancer therapeutic sacituzumab govitecan. Financial terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. IMMU rose more than 10%.

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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