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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Lower as Cohn Resignation, Possible Trade War Continue to Roil Markets

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.7%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.8%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -1%

Credit Suisse AG - VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short Term ( TVIX ): +7.8%

ProShares Trust Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF ( UVXY ): +5.4%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were weaker. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.7%.

U.S. stocks extended their losses into the session's half, as trade tariffs and a potential trade war continue to weigh on Wall Street. The sudden resignation of President Donald Trump's well-regarded economic advisor Gary Cohn reverberated through global financial markets.

In economic data news, the U.S. trade deficit widened sharply during January to $56.6 billion, likely providing Trump with additional ammunition in his plan to place tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Imports were little changed during January from the previous month at $257.5 billion while exports declined 1.3% to $200.9 billion.

Also, payroll processor ADP (ADP) said private-sector employers hired 235,000 new workers in February, topping expert opinion looking for around 205,000 hires last month. January employment also was revised slightly higher from initial estimates, climbing to 244,000 from 234,000 new employees first reported for the month.

Later this afternoon, the U.S. Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book assessment of economic conditions in its 12 member districts as well as nationally at 2 pm ET. The Fed also is scheduled to issue its weekly assessment of consumer credit activity at 3 pm ET.

Power Play: Technology

Tech funds 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. Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 0.4% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was down 0.8%.

Autodesk (ADSK) rose 13% after the company reported Q4 revenue of $554 million, up 16% over Q4 last year and better than the analyst consensus of $545 million on Capital IQ. Non-GAAP loss was $0.09 per share, narrowing from a year ago loss of $0.28 per share and better than expectations for a loss of $0.11 per share. For Q1, the company is targeting revenue of $565 to $575 million and non-GAAP earnings of $0.11 to $0.14 per share. The Street view is $585 million in revenue and earnings of $0.16 per share.

Winners and Losers

Financial

The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 1.2%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 2.5% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was up 2.4%.

The Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust (WHLR) plunged 20% to a record low, after the company late Tuesday reported a Q4 net loss of $1.22 per share, expanding from a $0.73 per share loss during the same quarter last year and missing the two-analyst consensus looking for a net loss of $0.56 per share.

Energy

Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was down 1.7% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 1.6%.

Foresight Energy (FELP) rose marginally after the firm reported Q4 loss per unit of $0.49, narrower than the $0.65 reported a year earlier. Foresight Energy reported Q4 revenue of $284.6 million, up from $252.9 million, and above the Street view of $264.8 million of two analysts rated by Capital IQ. The company reported Q4 adjusted EBITDA of $78.5 millio

Commodities

Crude was down 2.5%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 2.6%. Natural gas was up 1% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.9%.

Gold was down 0.6%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.7%. Silver was down 1.7%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 1.6%.

Health Care

Health care funds Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (IYH), were weaker. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 0.5%.

Clearside Biomedical (CLSD) rose more than 15% after the company said it plans to offer, subject to market conditions, $75 million shares of its common stock in an underwritten public offering. Exact terms of the offering were not yet available. The company plans to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15% amount of shares and intends to use the net proceeds for regulatory, commercial and clinical development activities, and for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Consumer

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

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were in the red.

Spartan Motors (SPAR) rose nearly 5% after the company said it has signed an exclusive supply agreement with Motiv Power Systems, a producer of all-electric chassis for vans, trucks, buses and other specialty vehicles. The deal provides the company with exclusive access to Motiv's EPIC all-electric chassis in manufacturing class 4 - class 6 walk-in vans for a minimum period of three years.

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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