Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Higher As Easing Tensions in Eastern Europe Offset Rise in Jobless Claims

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.30%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.06%

iPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures ETN ( VXX ): -2.32%

iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): +0.10%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series ( QQQ ): +0.30%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were mixed. Likewise, actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.89%.

U.S. stocks were higher at session's half following news that Russian President Vladimir Putin said he does not want to challenge the West over the issue of Crimea annexation. This eased the worries over tensions in Eastern Europe and helped offset downbeat data Germany,which earlier reported that growth contracted 0.2% for Q2, resulting in flat EU-zone GDP.

Back home, the Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims rose 21,000 to 311,000- the highest level since June. This, however, is still near pre-recession levels. Meanwhile, the U.S. import-price index slipped by 0.2% in July, led by lower fuel prices. Excluding fuel, import prices were unchanged in July. On the other hand, the U.S. export-price index were unchanged in July.

Power Play: Consumer

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

Noodles (NDLS) was down 21.22% and hit a new all-time low Thursday, after the restaurant chain reported late Wednesday Q2 sales and earnings that were below analysts' estimates. It posted Q2 revenue of $99.2 million, below the analyst consensus of $103 million on Capital IQ. EPS was $0.12, below the Street view of $0.15 per share. Comparable restaurant sales decreased 0.6% for company-owned restaurants, 1.2% for franchise restaurants and 0.7% system-wide. For 2014, the company expects flat comparable restaurant sales growth and flat adjusted EPS growth.

Winners and Losers


Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 0.49%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1% while its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 1.07%.

Blue Ridge Capital on Thursday reported it has taken stakes in credit card companies Mastercard (MA) and Visa (V). The investment fund took had a holding of 1,675,000 MasterCard shares worth $123,062 as of end June plus 123,062 Visa shares worth $126,426. It had no shares in the two companies as of end March. MA shares were down 0.63% while V shares was up 0.31%.


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 lower. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up0.08% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.18% .

OmniVision Technologies (OVTI) wasup 13.13% after it said it received a non-binding proposal from Beijing-based investment management company, Hua Capital Management Ltd. to buy the company for $29 per share in cash. The investment group led by Hua Capital Management includes Shanghai Pudong Science and Technology Investment Co. Ltd., a wholly state-owned limited liability company, established directly under the Pudong New Area government of Shanghai. The company's board of directors is reviewing and evaluating HCM's proposal.


Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.18%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.05%.

Profire Energy (PFIE) was up 8.7% after the developer of combustion-management technologies reported fiscal Q1 earnings that topped the Street view while revenue also surpassed analysts' expectations. Profire Energy reported comprehensive income of $2.5 million, or $0.05 per share, up from $1.5 million, or $0.04 per share, a year earlier. Revenue increased 83% to a record $13.1 million. The Street estimate was for earnings of $0.03 per share on revenue of $9.5 million, according to Capital IQ. The company reiterated its prior forecast for fiscal 2015 total revenue to range between $46 million and $48 million, an increase of 30% to 36% from the prior year. That is in line with the Street's latest consensus estimate of $47.1 million. PFIE also confirmed it expects fiscal 2015 net income to range between $7 million and $9 million, which represents an increase of 25% to 61% from the prior year.


Crude was down 1.59%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 1.67%. Natural gas was up 2.33% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2.61%.

Gold was down 0.01%, and silver was down 0.08%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.12% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.21%.

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 1.99%.

Conatus Pharmaceuticals (CNAT) was down 10.61% after the company reported late Thursday a Q2 net loss compared to profit in the comparable quarter of last year. The biotech's quarterly loss of $0.34 was lower than analyst consensus of $0.39 per share, per Capital IQ, and a turn from Q2 2013 EPS of $0.16.

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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