Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.40%, hit a record high
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.29%
Select Sector SPDR Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +1.06%, hit a 6-year high
PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.52%
Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ): -0.81%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were higher. Likewise, actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.52%.
U.S. stocks were also in positive territory in the session's half, following upbeat jobs data. The Labor Department reported the U.S. economy created 7,000 more jobs that initially reported from April 2013 to March 2014. The government had previously reported that the economy had created about 2.28 million jobs in that period. Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims dropped 36,000 to 280,000 - the lowest level since mid-July.
In housing data, housing starts during August showed a larger-than-expected 14.4% drop to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 956,000, versus expectations for a 5% monthly decline and an annualized pace of 1.038 million. July figures were revised upward, however, to 1.12 million new homes from initial reports of a 1.093 million pace.
Power Play: Technology
Technology funds were trading ahead of 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, and hit or neared all-time highs. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 1.23% while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 1.08%.
EMCORE (EMKR) surged 26.11%, boosted by announcements late Wednesday on the sale of its space photovoltaics business and the resignation of CEO Hong Q. Hou. The provider of semiconductor-based products said it is selling its space photovoltaics business to an affiliate of Veritas for $150 million, pursuant to a definitive agreement. The transaction is subject to the approval of EMCORE shareholders and is expected to close in December 2014 or January 2015. Separately, the company reported the resignation of Hong Q. Hou, who has been the president and CEO since March 2008. He will continue to serve in his current role until his successor is appointed.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 1.06%, with a new 6-year high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 2.44%, hitting a record high; its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 2.44% and sinking to a lifetime low.
EPR Properties (EPR) was down 4.32% after the company priced the sale of 3.2 million common shares at $52.25 a share, a 4% discount to Wednesday's closing price. Underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 480,000 common shares. The offering is being conducted as a public offering pursuant to an effective shelf registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933. EPR expects to raise $160.2 million of net proceeds to reduce the outstanding principal balance of its unsecured revolving credit facility.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.26%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.46%.
Penn West Petroleum (PWE) was up 9.27% after it said it returned to profit in Q2, though revenue fell, missing expectations. Net income was C$143 million ($130 million), or $0.29 per share, compared to a net loss of $89 million, or $0.18 per share a year ago. Two analysts had expected EPS of $0.11, if comparable, according to Capital IQ. Gross revenue fell 13% to $650 million, below estimates for $664 million. The company said it remains well on pace to meet its full year production guidance of 101,000 to 106,000 boe per day for 2014. For Q3, it sees average production of approximately 100,000 boe per day based on field estimates. Average production in the third quarter, 2014 is expected to be lower than second quarter, 2014. Q2 cash costs have declined roughly 20%, it said. Penn West also presented a detailed account of the internal review it has conducted following accounting malpractices.
Crude was down 1.06%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.8%. Natural gas was down 1.72% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 2.01%.
Gold was down 0.75%, while silver was down 0.98%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.33% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.14%.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) were in the green.
Retail ETFs SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were also firmer.
Rite Aid (RAD) was down 16.87% after it reported Q2 revenue of $6.5 billion, up 3.9% from the $6.3 billion posted in the year ago period, primarily as a result of an increase in pharmacy same store sales. Same store sales for the quarter increased 4.1 percent over the prior year, consisting of a 1.1 percent increase in front-end sales and a 5.6 percent increase in pharmacy sales. Earnings were $0.13 per share, up from $0.03 per share last year. The analyst consensus on Capital IQ called for revenue of $6.489 billion and earnings of $0.06 per share.
For fiscal 2015, net income is expected to be between $223.0 million and $333.0 million and income per diluted share between $0.22 and $0.33. The company is also narrowing guidance for sales and same store sales. Sales are expected to be between $26.0 billion and $26.3 billion and same store sales to range from an increase of 3.00 percent to an increase of 4.00 percent over Fiscal 2014. Capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $525 million. The Street view for FY 2015 is earnings of $0.34 per share on revenue of $26.3 billion, according to Capital IQ.
Health Care SPDR (XLV), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) were higher, and neared or reached record highs. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.01%.
VIVUS (VVUS) jumped 14.88% Thursday after the company and Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (AUXL) said they received U.S. FDA approval of a supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for STENDRA. The drug is now the only FDA-approved erectile dysfunction (ED) medication indicated to be taken as early as approximately 15 minutes before sexual activity. AUXL shares were off 0.74%.
STENDRA is a prescription medication in a class of drugs known as phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors approved for the treatment of ED in men 18 years or older. STENDRA is available in multiple dosage strengths and may be taken with or without food and moderate alcohol consumption of up to three drinks
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