Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:
Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ( VWO ): +0.2%, jumped to a new year high
iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): -0.25%
PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.1%
iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ): -1%
iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund ( EFA ): -0.5%, but near year highs
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are mixed. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) has been fluctuating and is currently slightly higher.
U.S. stocks are mixed too as the post 'fiscal cliff' deal rally comes to an end with investors and traders digesting the details of the last-minute deal signed by lawmakers. Investors are now bracing for more budget talks concerning the extension of the $16.4 trillion federal debt ceiling. Earlier, the latest jobless claims report showed that new applications for unemployment benefits rose 372,000, reflecting possible holiday-season volatility. On the other hand, the ADP reported that 215,000 private-sector jobs were added in December, beating analysts'forecasts. Still ahead, the Federal Reserve is due to release the minutes of its Dec. 11-12 meeting at 2 p.m. ET.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) is now up 0.2% at new 52 week highs. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is now up 0.6% and it too has hit new 52 week highs. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is now down 0.9% and it has posted new 52 week lows.
Among financial stocks, Spanish lender Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) is down 1% from near 52 week highs following a report on Fox News Thursday that stated BBVA sold debt at a cheaper cost than the Spanish government, the latest indication that investors are warming to the country's battered banking sector.
Tech ETFs are mixed in mid-day action: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), down 0.1%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), now down 0.1%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.29% and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 0.5%.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 0.51% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is now down 0.1%.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is down 0.80% but still near the 52-week high of $27.60.
In sector news, Mellanox (MLNX) is down 14% at $52.35 but is well above a day low $49.11. Shares have been seeing weakness following the company's announcement late Wednesday that it expects Q4 revenue in the range of $119 to $121 mln, below its prior guidance of $145 to $150 mln and south of the Street consensus of $149 mln on Capital IQ.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 0.5%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is now up 0.7%.
In sector news, Forest Oil (FST) is now up 6%, reversing earlier losses, after the company said it has sold all of its properties located in South Texas, excluding its Eagle Ford Shale oil properties, for after-tax cash proceeds of $325 million. The transaction has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2013.
Crude was up 0.19%; natural gas was down 1.41%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.3%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is down 0.7%.
Gold was down 0.62%; likewise, silver was down 0.35%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.6%; iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) is down 0.9%.
Healthcare ETFs have turned positive: Health Care SPDR (XLV), now up 0.2%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), now up 0.1%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), now up 0.2%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB), on the other hand, is up 0.7%.
In corporate news, Biogen Idec (BIIB) is now down near 1% but has pared earlier losses of about 3% after the global biotechnology company reported that its Phase 3 trial investigating dexpramipexole in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), EMPOWER, did not meet its primary endpoint, a joint rank analysis of function and survival, and no efficacy was seen in the individual components of function or survival. The trial also failed to show efficacy in its key secondary endpoints. Additional analyses of multiple subpopulations failed to demonstrate any efficacy among these groups.
Consumer ETFs are mixed: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), down 0.2%; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.16%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.1%.
In sector news, Unilever plc (UL) is down 0.5% after it announced that it will sell its global Skippy business to Hormel Foods (HRL) for approximately $700 million cash. The deal is expected to close early in 2013. HRL shares are up 3.5% and touched a new year high of $33.82.
Power Play -
Retail stocks and ETFs are mostly higher, outperforming the broader market despite mixed December same store sales figures from several major retailers. Among top gainers following December comps, (ROST) is up 8.5% after reporting a 6% increase in its December comps, beating the Retail Metrics consensus of an increase of 3%. Among losers, Limited Brands (LTD) is down 5.5% after reporting a 3% increase in its December comps, below the consensus of an increase of 4.7%.
Retail ETFs are mostly higher: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), up 1.6%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), down 0.1%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), up 0.6% at new 52 week highs.
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