Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Extend Gains Amid Trade War Worries; US Confirms New Round of Sanctions on Iran

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

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.6%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +0.5%

iShares Inc iShares MSCI Brazil ETF ( EWZ ): -0.6%

iPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures ETN ( VXX ): -3.3%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.4%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.4%.

US stocks were higher at session's half, as companies including Tyson Foods (TSN) and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) are rising after their Q2 reports, but traders also weighed the escalating trade dispute between the United States and China.

Meanwhile, the White House said that sanctions on Iran will be restored, effective at midnight. This round of sanctions will be followed by another in November, which will include sanctions on crude oil.

There are no economic data due for release.

Power Play: Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 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 in the green.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 1.0% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.4%. (WEB) rose more than 11% after the company said it reached an amended agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Siris Capital Group for $28 per share in cash. The company also noted that the "go-shop" period provided under terms of a previously announced merger deal between the company and affiliates of Siris Capital has expired. Under the terms of the amended merger deal, said that in the event it accepts a higher offer from another bidder, it would be required to pay an affiliate of Siris a $39.1 million termination fee. The deal with the Siris affiliates is slated to close in Q4, subject to approval by Web shareholders along with customary closing conditions.

Winners and Losers


The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.6%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.2% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was down 1.3%.

Goldman Sachs (GS) is considering offering custody for cryptocurrency funds, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The plan would mean the bank will hold the securities on behalf of the funds, reducing the risk for clients who are seeking to protect themselves against the threat of losing their investments to cyber attacks. According to the sources, deliberations are ongoing, and no timeline has been set on when Goldman Sachs will roll out the services. GS shares rose more than 1%.


Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.6% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.5%.

Vistra Energy (VST) rose more than 2% after it said it swung to a Q2 profit of $0.20 per share from a $0.06 loss in the year-ago period but missed the CapIQ mean for a $0.33 GAAP per share profit and a $0.34 normalized per share profit. Operating revenue rose to $2.57 billion from $1.3 billion last year and topped forecasts for $2.51 billion. It reaffirmed its 2018 forecast for ongoing operations adjusted EBITDA of $2.7 billion to $2.9 billion and an ongoing operations adjusted free cash flow range of $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion.


Crude was up 1.6%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 1.1%. Natural gas was down 0.15% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.3%.

Gold was down 0.4%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.4%. Silver was down 0.7%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.5%.


Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.3% 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 0.5% while retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were higher.

SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) rose more than 18% after it reported diluted EPS of $0.26 for Q2, an improvement from last year's net loss per diluted share of $2.05 but still missed the Capital IQ consensus of $0.30. Revenues grew year-over-year to $391.9 million from $373.8 million, beating the mean estimate of $369.3 million provided by Capital IQ.

Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 0.3% and other health care funds Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were firmer. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was flat.

Ovid Therapeutics (OVID) fell more than 33% after it said the phase 2 STARS trial of OV101 achieved its primary endpoint of safety and tolerability. The company said the investigational medicine showed a favorable safety profile and was well tolerated in adults and adolescents with Angelman syndrome. Ovid said it plans to initiate in Q4 an open-label extension study (named ELARA); Angelman syndrome patients who completed any prior OV101 study may be eligible to receive the investigational medicine in this study.

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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