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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Higher as Energy Rallies; Street Mulls Mixed Economic Data

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +1%

3X Long Crude ETN Velocityshares ( UWTI ): +12%

VIX Short-Term Futures ETN Ipath ( VXX ): -2.5%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +1%

United States Oil Fund ( USO ): +3.9%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were higher. Actively-traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.5%.

U.S. stocks climbed into the positive territory at session's half as energy stocks moved higher following the report that U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly declined last week; OPEC's announcement that it expects the price of its basket of crudes to rise to $70 a barrel in 2020 also added to energy's rally.

Economic data were mixed to positive as well. Consumer spending rose 0.3% in November, matching expectations. Orders for durable goods were flat in November, following a 2.9% increase in October. Economists had expected a 1.1% decline. Personal incomes, meanwhile, grew 0.3%. Finally, new home sales had an annual rate of 490,000 - the highest since August. Forecasts called for a new home sales rate of 505,000.

Power Play: Health Care

Health care funds were in the green, in line with the broader market. Health Care SPDR (XLV), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) were higher. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.1%.

Adcare Health Systems Inc (ADK) was up 9.5% after the company said it has reached a settlement agreement in the class action lawsuit Amy Cleveland et. al. v APH&R Nursing which alleged, among others, understaffing at nursing homes. In a regulatory filing of results to the end of Sept. 30, Adcare Health Systems said the lawsuit also alleged that understaffing "resulted in breaches or violation of the nursing home admission agreements, the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and the Long Term Care Facilities Residents' Act."

Winners and Losers

Financial

Funds in the financial sector were firmer, matching the broader market. Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 1%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 2.9%; Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (FAZ) was down 2.7%.

Deutsche Bank AG (DB) shares gained more than 2% in trading Wednesday after it was appointed as sponsored depositary bank for the capital raising Level III American Depositary Receipt program for Yirendai Ltd. Yireandai is an online consumer finance marketplace in China connecting investors and individual borrowers. They facilitated RMB8, 748.3 million in loans from inception in March 2012 through September 30.

Technology

Tech funds were higher, slightly outpacing the broader market. 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 0.1%.

Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 0.7%, while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.7%.

LRAD (LRAD) was 2.2% after the manufacturer of directed sound technologies and products said that it has received orders totaling $735,000 for its long-range acoustic devices for perimeter security and public safety applications in Asia and for a southeastern U.S. utility installation. The orders are comprised primarily of 1000X, 1000RX and 500RX systems.

Energy

Energy funds were firmer, outperforming the broader market. Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 3.5% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 3.6%.

Piedmont Natural Gas Company (PNY) down 0.3% after it reported FY15 net income of $137 million, or $1.73 per diluted share, compared with the prior-year's $143.8 million, or $1.84 per diluted share. Adjusted net income was $148 million or $1.87, ex merger-related expenses. Revenue was $1.37 billion, down from $1.47 billion last year. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were expecting EPS of $1.87 on revenues of $1.43 billion. Piedmont reaffirmed its fiscal year 2016 earnings guidance of $1.92 to $2.02 per diluted share before any merger-related expenses. The Street view is for EPS of $1.98.

The company also said its board of directors approved a quarterly dividend on PNY common stock of $0.33 per share, payable on Jan. 15, to holders of record at the close of business on Dec. 24.

Commodities

Crude was up 3.7%. United States Oil Fund ( USO ) was up 3.7%. Natural gas was up 2.3%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2%. Gold was up 0.5% and SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.3%. Silver was down 0.1% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.3%.

Consumer

Consumer staples funds were in positive territory, matching the broader market. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) were in the green.

Consumer discretionary and retail funds were also firmer, in line the broader market. Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY), SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were higher.

Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack (PBY) was up 3.4% after it said Wednesday the revised buyout proposal from Icahn Enterprises L.P. (IEP) remains superior to an offer from Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC. The revised proposal from Icahn Enterprises improved the purchase price to greater of $16.50 per share and "a price equal to $0.10 more per share than any increased bona fide bid offered by Bridgestone, up to a maximum of $18.10 per share." Previously Icahn Enterprise offered $16.50 per share for Pep Boys. The offer isn't subject to due diligence or financing conditions and contains a "hell or high water" antitrust covenant. Pep Boy said it has alerted Bridgestone that it is terminating its agreement with the company. Bridgestone has until 5:00 p.m. EST Thursday to respond.

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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