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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Hold on to Gains on Upbeat Earnings from Retailers, Mixed Economic Data

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.6%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.03%

VIX Short-Term Futures ETN Ipath ( VXX ): +0.8%

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): -4.7%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +0.5%

Broad Market Indicators

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

U.S. stocks maintained their modest gains, bolstered by upbeat earnings from retailers Walmart (WMT), Home Depot (HD) and the TJX Companies (TJX) as well as mixed economic data.

In economic data news, the government reported an as-expected 0.2% increase in the nominal and core consumer price index, neither of which were viewed as ammunition for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next month.

Meanwhile, October industrial production contracted 0.2%, matching a similar decline during the prior month according to the Federal Reserve, while capacity utilization fell to 77.5% from September's upwardly revised 77.7% rate. Wall Street was expecting industrial production to increase 0.1% and capacity utilization to remain unchanged at 77.5%.

Also, the National Association of Home Builders housing market index declined to a 62 reading from October's upwardly revised 65 reading, climbing from initial reports of a 64 reading.

Power Play: Consumer

Consumer staples funds were in positive territory, in line with 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 performing in line with 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 firmer.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) was up 4.6% after it reported Q3 EPS of $1.03, down from $1.15 for the same period last year, but ahead of the Capital IQ consensus estimate of $0.98. Total revenue for the quarter was $117.4 billion, down from $119 billion for Q3 2014, and in line with the analyst forecast of $117.37 billion. Operating income was $5.7 billion, compared to $6.27 billion for the same period the previous year. Comp sales at Walmart U.S. were positive for the fifth consecutive quarter, up 1.5%, while traffic increased 1.7%. International net sales were $29.8 billion. On a constant currency basis, sales reached $34.7 billion, led by Mexico and Canada. The company said that growth was pressured by challenges in key international markets.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Funds in the financial sector were higher, in line with the broader market. Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.4%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.2%; Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (FAZ) was down 1.5%.

Walter Investment Management (WAC) was 7.5% after it reported the appointment of Daniel Beltzman, co-founder of Birch Run Capital Advisors, to its board effective Dec.7. As of June 30, Birch Run reported it owned 19.77% of Walter Investment, a diversified mortgage banking firm focused on the servicing and origination of residential loans, including reverse loans. Walter Investment said that in connection with Beltzman's appointment, the company entered into an agreement that Birch Run has agreed to vote all of its stock at the upcoming annual meeting of shareholders in support of current Class I directors nominated by the board, and against any shareholder proposals not approved by the board. The company also announced it has amended its shareholder rights agreement to permit Birch Run to acquire up to 25% of common stock.

Technology

Tech funds were higher, keeping pace with 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 weaker. Meanwhile SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was up 0.7%.

Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 1.3%, and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 1.1%.

WPCS International (WPCS) was up 7.1% after announcing it will expand into the Texas market for security integration and low voltage communications as part of the company's strategic growth plan. WPCS Interim CEO Sebastian Giordano said the move provides the company with opportunities for higher margins and recurring revenue.

Energy

Energy funds were weaker, below the broader market. Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.7% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.6%.

NF Energy Saving (NFEC) was down 11.4% after winning new contracts valued at $2.9 million. NF Energy Saving said it received several new orders despite the current slowing down of China's economy. The new orders are from Hohhot Jianshan Power Plant, Singkiang Production & Construction Corp., Fujian Putian Drainage Co. Ltd., Shanxi Jinneng Debao Thermal Power Co., China Water Resource and Hydropower Engineering Co. Ltd., and Henan Puyang Yuneng Development Co. Ltd., plus the TENCEDIL Inc. of Italy and the Piping Market Center of Saudi Arabia. In addition, the company has documents prepared to bid in December for 10 more new projects.

Commodities

Crude was down 2%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 2.8%. Natural gas futures were down 0.7%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.6%. Gold was down 1.4% and SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 1.3%.

Health Care

Health care funds were higher, in line with the broader market. Health Care SPDR (XLV), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) were firmer. Meanwhile. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.4%.

Enzo Biochem (ENZ) rose 10.2% to a fresh 12-month high after the company said the New York State Department of Health approved its AmpiProbe-HCV assay for the detection of Hepatitis C. The approval allows Enzo to begin marketing the assay on a national basis. Enzo Biochem added it is currently working to expand the AmpiProbe product line so that it can be used to detect Hepatitis B and HIV viral loads.

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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