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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Lower as Geopolitical Tensions Overshadow Upbeat Jobs Data

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

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): +3.4%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -0.6%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.4%

Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares ( JNUG ): +4.7%

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +2.6%

Broad Market Indicators

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

U.S. stocks were lower at session's half, weighed by news that North Korea threatened a nuclear strike against the U.S. as a naval strike force moves towards the Korean peninsula. Investors were also nervously watching developments surrounding Syria as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson head to Russia to meet with Foreign Secretary Sergey Lavrov.

In economic data news, job openings increased to 5.743 million in February from a revised 5.625 million, beating estimates for a gain to 5.655 million.

Earlier, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that its monthly sentiment index fell 0.6 point to 104.7 - a slightly larger decline than expected.

Power Play: Health Care

Health care funds Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were higher. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 0.8%.

Alliance HealthCare Services (AIQ) jumped 25.4% to a new 19-month high after the provider of outsourced healthcare services said that it has agreed to be acquired by Tahoe Group for approximately $75 million. Tahoe Group will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Alliance that is not beneficially owned by the Tahoe Group, or owned by Alliance as treasury stock, for $13.25 per share in cash. The $13.25 per share price represents a premium of 67% over the company's closing trading price on Dec. 9, 2016, the last trading day prior to Tahoe's initial proposal was publicly disclosed. It is also a premium of 38% over the $9.60 purchase price per share initially offered by Tahoe.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 0.6%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 1.1%, while its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 1.1%.

Sussex Bancorp (SBBX) fell 2.2% after it agreed to acquire Community Bank of Bergen County, NJ, in an all-stock transaction. Community Bank will merge with and into Sussex Bank and each outstanding share of Community Bank share will be exchanged for 0.97 shares of SBBX common stock. The deal is presently valued at $45.4 million, or $23.52 per Community Bank share. On a pro forma basis, the transaction is expected to be accretive to Sussex Bancorp's 2018 EPS by 12%. The merger enhances and expands Sussex Bank's presence in Bergen County, New Jersey with the addition of 3 full service branch locations in that county, which will complement Sussex Bank's existing location in Oradell, New Jersey.

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 weaker. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was down 0.03%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 1.3% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was down 1.2%.

Rapid7 (RPD) shares rose 9.8% after it said it expects Q1 revenue to come in at or above the high end of its prior guidance range of $42.6 million to $44 million, compared with an analyst estimate of $43.4 million from Capital IQ. The company said in a statement Q1 adjusted loss per share is expected to be narrower than its earlier guidance for a loss of $0.26 to $0.24 as of Feb 9. That compares with an analyst estimate of $0.24 in adjusted loss. Additionally, Rapid7 reiterated its prediction for a 2017 revenue range of $192 to $198 million, which compares with the Street's forecast of $195.4 million.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.5% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.4%.

Pengrowth Energy (PGH) was up 2.3% after it said that it has closed its previously announced sale of its Montney lands at Bernadet in North East British Columbia for a cash consideration of $92 million. The company intends to use the net proceeds to repay debts, which it expects to reduce by approximately 48% from Dec. 31 levels.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.3%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.2%. Natural gas was down 2.4% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 2.3%.

Gold was up 1.6%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 1.3%. Silver was up 1.9% while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 1.7%.

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) and other consumer staples funds Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US 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.

SuperValu (SVU) rose 7.1% after it said that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Unified Grocers in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at approximately $375 million. The consideration for the transactions consists of approximately $114 million in cash, plus the assumption and pay-off of United Grocers' net debt at closing. The transaction is expected to close in mid-to-late summer 2017, subject to shareholder approvals and other customary closing conditions. The company expects to incur transition and integration costs of $60 million within the first two years, and to generate a run rate of at least $60 million in cost synergies after three years of combined operations.

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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