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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Maintain Gains Ahead of FOMC Decision; Upbeat Boeing Earnings Lift Dow

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

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): -2.4%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.2%

PowerShares DB Commodity Index Trac ( DBC ): -0.03%

ProShares Trust Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF ( UVXY ): -4.7%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.6%

Broad Market Indicators

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

US stocks were higher at session's half, with shares of Boeing (BA) and upbeat US economic data driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average up by more than 100 points.

Investors are looking ahead to the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee statement at 2pm ET. Although the Fed is not expected to adjust monetary policy, Fed Chair Janet Yellen's last Fed meeting could offer her the opportunity to be more candid about the trajectory of interest rates in 2018.

In economic data news, Chicago PMI's business barometer index has a reading of 65.7 versus expectations of 64.0 in January and compared with the prior level of 67.6. Pending home sales were up 0.5% in December, matching forecasts.

Earlier, the ADP national employment report showed private payrolls of 234,000 in January vs December's 250,000 and estimates for 195,000, according to data compiled by Econoday. And, the employment cost index for Q4 rose 0.6% after 0.7% in Q3. Forecasters had called for a 0.6% increase in Q4. Wages and salaries increased 0.5% last quarter versus 0.7% previously, with benefits up 0.5% compared to 0.8%.

Power Play: 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.

Energizer (ENR) rose more than 8% after it said that it has increased its adjusted earnings forecast for the fiscal year 2018, with better-than-expected results for the three months ended Dec. 31. Adjusted diluted EPS was $1.55, up from last year's $1.51, exceeding the Capital IQ consensus of $1.43. Sales grew year-over-year to $573.3 million from $559.6 million, also beating the mean estimate of $566.5 million. For fiscal 2018, the company now expects adjusted diluted EPS of $3.30 - $3.40, up from the previous forecast of $3.00 - $3.10. The Street is at $3.25.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 0.6%, Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.9% and its bearish counterpart FAZ was down 1.9%.

MarketAxess Holdings (MKTX) was up 3% after it reported Q4 financial results Wednesday, with better-than-expected revenue and earnings that beat analysts' estimates. The operator of a leading electronic trading platform for fixed-income securities, and the provider of market data and post-trade services, posted earnings of $0.88 per diluted share, consistent with the prior-year period and slightly above Capital IQ consensus estimates by three analysts of $0.83. Revenue was $99.6 million, up 5.4% from $94.4 million in the same quarter last year. The Street view was for revenue of $98.6 million.

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 firmer.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 0.3% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.8%.

Check Point Software (CHKP) was down 1% after the company reported Q4 revenues rose year-over-year to $506 million from $486.7 million but missed Street view of $508.6 million. Non-GAAP earnings were $1.58 per share, up from last year's $1.46, exceeding Street view of $1.51.

Energy

Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.1% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was marginally higher.

GasLog Partners (GLOP) rose 1.5% as the owner and operator of liquefied natural gas carriers said it posted Q4 earnings per diluted common unit of $0.62 compared with $0.57 a year earlier. The company didn't provide adjusted earnings per unit. Analysts in a Capital IQ poll expected $0.57 in GAAP earnings per unit. Revenue totaled $77.35 million compared with $78.63 million a year earlier. Analysts had forecast revenue of $75.45 million.

Commodities

Crude was down 0.1%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.2%. Natural gas was down 6.6% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 6.3%.

Gold was up 0.2%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.3%. Silver was up 0.9%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.8%.

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 1.1%.

Thermo Fisher (TMO) rose more than 3% after it reported Q4 adjusted earnings of $2.79 per share, up from $2.41 in the same period a year ago and topping the estimate of $2.67 from analysts polled by CapIQ. Total revenue of $6.05 billion was up from $4.95 billion in the same period a year ago and exceeded the Street projection of $5.72 billion. The company meanwhile increased its quarterly dividend 13% to $0.17 per share from a prior dividend of $0.15 per share. The dividend is payable April 16 to shareholders of record as of March 15. Thermo Fisher also said it will make $50 million in investments as a result of US tax reform, including $34 million for a one-time bonus of $500 for employees and $16 million to accelerate research and development and support educational initiatives.

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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