Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Extend Sharp Losses as Eastern European Tensions Overshadow Upbeat Data

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -1.11%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -2.20%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ( VXX ): +5.73%

iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund ( IWM ): -1.35%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -1.26%

Broad Market Indicators

Most broad market exchange-traded funds were weaker at the session's half. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was down 1.26%.

U.S. stocks were grappling with sharp losses as geopolitical tensions mounted following Russia's incursion into the Crimea region of northern Ukraine. Market sentiment continued to be jittery despite mostly upbeat economic data - January personal income was up 0.3%, in line with expectations, while January personal spending was up 0.4%, above forecasts; February ISM index had a reading of 53.2, while January construction spending was up 0.1%, with both beating economists' forecasts.

Power Play: Healthcare

Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were weaker. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 1.44%.

In corporate news, Dendreon (DNDN) climbed more than 15% after the biotechnology company reported a narrower-than-expected Q4 adjusted loss on revenue that was above Street estimates, and said it will make its Provenge prostate-cancer treatment commercially available in Germany and the U.K. The company's Q4 loss widened in the latest period to $88.7 million, or $0.58 per share, from a loss of $38.7 million, or $0.26 per share, a year earlier. However, when excluding one-time items, its loss narrowed to $0.17 per share from $0.30 per share, smaller than the loss of $0.24 per share analysts had expected, according to Capital IQ. Revenue declined 12% to $74.8 million, but that was above the $72.9 million mean estimate of analysts polled by Capital IQ. The company said it expected Q1 revenue to be consistent with its prior-year results, adding it is on track with its restructuring and cost-reduction plan to accelerate its path to profitability.

Dendreon said it is beginning to make its Provenge prostate-cancer treatment available in Europe using contract-manufacturing organization PharmaCell, starting with Germany and the U.K. It plans to expand further in Europe once automation is approved; it is preparing for discussions with European regulatory authorities regarding automation.

Winners and Losers


Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was down 1.34%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 3.83%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 3.93%.

Among financial stocks, American Financial Group (AFG) was down 1.26% after it said it has waived the minimum tender condition attached to its $30-per-share cash offer for National Interstate Corporation (NATL), under which it previously required that the shares tendered combined with its own shares would have to total at least 90% after the offer expired. The property and casualty insurance company said it will now purchase all shares that are tendered. It also extended the expiration date and withdrawal rights to 12:00 midnight on March 17 from March 6 previously. NATL shares were up 0.73%.


Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), 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 in the red. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 1.36%, and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was down 1.3%.

In stocks news, Plug Power (PLUG) continues to power higher, gaining another 16% Monday and touching a record high of $5.55. Last Wednesday, PLUG said that it would supply its hydrogen fuel cells to Wal-Mart (WMT) to power the retail giants' forklifts and material-handling equipment. Cowen & Co puts the value of the Wal-Mart order at approximately $50 million. Since then the stock has appreciated in value by more than 51%. Investors are also buying up the stock before the company announces its Q4 earning on March 13. Given the impact of the Wal-Mart order, the company is expected to raise its earnings guidance for 2014.


Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were lower, both down 0.78% at last check.

In corporate news, QR Energy (QRE) was up 3.53% despite reporting Q4 revenue that was short of the Street consensus. QR Energy reported revenue was $119.3 million for Q4, up from $126.0 million a quarter prior. Earnings were $0.25 per share, up from a year ago loss of $0.57 per share. The energy company expects an average of 18,900 to 19,600 barrels per day for Q1 and an average of 19,700 to 20,700 per day for the full year 2014. Analysts expected $130 million in revenue for Q4 and earnings of $0.35, according to Capital IQ estimates


Crude was down 0.59%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.35%. Natural gas was down 0.59%; United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.32%.

Gold was up 0.39% and silver was up 0.40%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.36%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.59%.


Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were in negatvie territory.

In company news, Magna International (MGA, MG.TO) shares were up some 4% and reached their all-time high Monday after the company reported improved Q4 financial results and said it expects fiscal 2014 revenue about in line with estimates. The automotive supplier reported Q4 earnings of $2.03 per share, compared with the prior-year period's $1.49 per share. Ex one-time items, earnings were $0.79. Revenue was $9.17 billion, up 14% from $8.03 billion in the same quarter last year. For fiscal 2014, the company expects total sales of $33.8 billion - $35.5 billion. The Capital IQ consensus estimate is for revenue of $35.8 billion.

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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