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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Firmer on Russia/Ukraine Peace Talks; Upbeat Housing Market Data

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.87%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.86%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series ( QQQ ): +0.82%

iPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures ETN ( VXX ): -3.47%

iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): +1.51%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were firmer. Likewise, actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.82%.

U.S. stocks were also trading in positive territory, with the NASDAQ hitting a 14-year high. Market sentiment brightened as geopolitical tensions subsided following news that Russian and Ukraine foreign ministers were holding ongoing negotiations for peace in the region. Economic news was also upbeat - the National Association of Home Builders housing market index rose to 55.0 in August, beating expectations for the index to remain unchanged at 53.0.

Power Play: Consumer

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

Family Dollar Stores (FDO) was up 4.98% after the dollar-store operator received an offer to be bought by larger rival Dollar General (DG) for $78.50 per share in cash, topping Dollar Tree's (DLTR) bid last month to buy Family Dollar for $74.50 per share in cash and stock. DG shares were up 9.52% while DLTR shares were down 2.01%.

Dollar General said it expects its proposal would generate $550 million to $600 million in cost savings on an annual run-rate three years post-closing. In addition, Dollar General sees its proposal boosting earnings in the low double-digits on a percentage basis in the first full year excluding implementation and transaction costs. The combined company would be expected to return to investment grade ratios within approximately three years from the closing of the proposed transaction, it added.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 1.15%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 3.1% while its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 3.1%.

China Finance Online (JRJC) ADRs surged 25% after the company announced the launch of China's first independent web-based securities trading platform, Securities Master, on the financial portals it operates, www.jrj.com and www.stockstar.com. Securities Master, a fully integrated securities-trading platform, is the product of a new strategic partnership China Finance Online has entered into with the largest brokerage firm in China, CITIC Securities.

Technology

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 higher. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was up 1.49%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 0.71% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.05%.

Bitauto (BITA) American Depositary Receipts were up2.86% after the Internet content and marketing services provider said it will form a joint venture with automotive dealer Yong Da Group and electronic auction service company UXIN. The partnership will expand Bitauto's proprietary used car website taoche.com by adding an inventory of available-for-sale used cars in China, ensuring greater numbers of car buyers across China access to comprehensive used cars information. Financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.26%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.18%.

SM Energy Company (SM) was up1.16% after it said it increased its 2014 production guidance to 53.5 to 54.9 MMBOE and 20% annual production growth on retained properties. It raised its 2015 annual production growth outlook to approximately 20% from 15%, with 2016 production growth expected to be approximately 15%. It also increased its 2014 capital expenditure budget. Most of the capital increase is attributable to approximately $430 million of un-budgeted acquisitions in the Powder River and Williston Basins and additional activity related to those acquisitions in the second half of 2014.

Commodities

Crude was down 1.37%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 1.47%. Natural gas was up 0.92% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.41%.

Gold was down 0.48%, while silver was up 0.56%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.43% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.04%.

Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) were in the green. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.32%.

Lannett Company (LCI) was up 8.42% after the provider of generic versions of branded pharmaceutical products gave expectations for its fiscal Q4 and full-year sales that came above analysts' expectations. Lannett said it expects to report fiscal Q4 sales of $81 million, compared to $40.2 million it generated a year earlier. Five analysts on average had revenue pegged at a consensus of $71.16 million, according to Capital IQ estimates.

For the fiscal full year, the company expects to report sales of $274 million, up from $151.1 million it generated a year earlier. Adjusted 2014 EPS is expected to be between $1.94 and $1.98. Wall Street had predicted earnings of $1.75 per share on $264 million in revenue.

Lannett will report full financial results on August 27.

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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