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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Mixed as Wall Street Continues to Mull Tax Reform, Q2 GDP Data and Jobless Claims

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

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.2%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -0.1%

iShares Russell 2000 ETF ( IWM ): +0.1%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.1%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.2%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV inched higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.2%.

U.S. stocks were mixed at session's half, as investors continued to digest the GOP's tax reform framework, unveiled by President Donald Trump on Wednesday afternoon. It included corporate tax cuts and is being styled as a positive for lower- and middle-income Americans, but is facing criticism about who will benefit.

In economic data news, Q2 economic growth came in at 3.1%, as expected, from an earlier view of 3%. Weekly initial jobless claims increased by 12,000 to 272,000, but that was below estimates on Econoday for 275,000.

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. Meanwhile, Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.2%.

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE) rose 56% after the company said its ZYN002 cannabidiol gel met its primary endpoint in a phase 2 study, achieving 46% improvement on the anxiety, depression, and mood scale in pediatric and adolescent patients with Fragile X syndrome. The gel also achieved clinically meaningful improvements in all measures of the aberrant behavior checklist for Fragile X, which includes social avoidance, temper tantrums, repetitive movements, and hyperactivity. The results were seen at week 12 and compared to baseline, the company said. Zynerba anticipates it will meet with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first half of 2018 with the goal of moving quickly into a pivotal Phase 2/3 program in pediatric and adolescent patients. The drug has received orphan drug designation.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 0.02%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.1% and its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 0.3%.

Reven Housing REIT (RVEN) was more than 3% higher after the real estate investment trust late Wednesday revised the purchase and sales agreement for up to 50 single-family homes in the greater Birmingham, Ala., region to extend Reven's due diligence period and pushing out the closing date until Oct. 31.

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 flat.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 0.2% while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.6%.

BlackBerry (BBRY) was up 13.7% after the company reported fiscal Q2 adjusted EPS of $0.05 per share, five cents above the consensus of analysts polled by Capital IQ, On a reported basis, the company posted a Q2 loss of $0.07 per share, narrowing from a loss of $0.71 per share a year earlier. The company reported Q2 adjusted revenues of $249 million, which beat expectations for $221.2 million. Reported revenues were $238 million, down from $334 million a year earlier. For full fiscal 2018, the company is expecting total non-GAAP revenues in the range of $920 million to $950 million; total non-GAAP software and services revenue growth in the range of 10% to 15%, and positive non-GAAP EPS for the full year. Analysts are expecting FY adjusted revenues of $920.5 million.

Separately, the company unveiled the signing of its first secure licensing deal. The deal was sealed with Yangzhou New Telecom Science and Technology, a Yangzhou- and Beijing-based developer and manufacturer of smartphones and IoT devices.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.01% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.03%.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A,RDS.B) is working on developing new energy technologies like 'smart' electric vehicle charging and models to reduce customers' energy use, Reuters reported, citing the company. The news report said the head of Shell's new energies division would say on Thursday the company intends to invest up to $1 billion a year by the end of the decade. "The exciting challenge for New Energies is turning these possibilities into commercial successes," Shell's Mark Gainsborough, executive vice president of New Energies, is expected to say in Amsterdam on Thursday, according to the news report. ADRs were up 0.7%.

Commodities

Crude was down 1.5%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 1.4%. Natural gas was down 1.4% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 1.7%.

Gold was up 0.2%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.7%. Silver was up 0.3%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 1.8%.

Consumer

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

Meanwhile, 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.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) was down 10.2% after the company reported adjusted net loss of $0.05 per share in Q2, unchanged from a year earlier, a smaller loss than analysts' estimate of a $0.06 per share loss in a Capital IQ poll. Revenues edged higher to $407.61 million from $405.82 million a year ago, also coming in higher than the $406.32 million estimate. Looking ahead, the company said it expects a 2% drop to flat range in Q3 for comparable sales growth, flat to 2% rise in Q4, after incorporating the impact from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It expects GAAP EPS of $0.08 to $0.14 in Q3 and non-GAAP EPS of $0.36 to $0.46 in Q4, and non-GAAP EPS of $0.38 to $0.48 for the full year. The Street view for Q3 GAAP EPS is $0.20 per share and $0.37 per share for Q4 non-GAAP earnings. Analysts are expecting full year EPS of $0.46.

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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