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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Mostly Weaker as Apple Weighs on Market, Drags Tech Sector Lower

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

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY ): +0.15%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.1%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ( VXX ): -3.1%, above 52 week lows

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ): -0.07% from near 52 week highs

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.35% from near 52 week highs

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are mostly weaker.

U.S. stocks have been unable to fully recover earlier losses and most continue to sink, with the Dow inching higher but the NASDQ lagging. Apple (AAPL) continues to lead tech stocks lower after investors' underwhelming response to the tech giant's launch of its new iPhones 5S and iPhone 5C. In economic data news, July wholesale inventories rose 0.1%, missing expectations. Investors are now looking ahead to next week's Federal Open Market Committee meeting, hoping for more information on when the central bank will begin the tapering of its bond-buying program. Concerns over Syria remain in the background as the U.S. pursues diplomatic measures to resolve the standoff over the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 0.07% from near 52 week highs. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.1%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 0.1%.

Among financial stocks, RAIT Financial Trust (RAS) was up more than 7% after the firm late Tuesday declared a Q3 2013 cash dividend on RAIT's common shares of $0.15 per common share, representing a 15% increase from the prior quarter's dividend of $0.13 per common share and a 67% increase from Q3 2012 dividend of $0.09 per common share. The dividend will be paid on October 31, 2013 to holders of record on October 3, 2013. The ex-dividend date is October 1, 2013.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.5%, near its 52-week highs. Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was also up 0.5%, hitting a new 52-week high of $84.29.

In sector news, Harvest Natural Resources, Inc. (HNR) was up 27.23% after it said it was in exclusive negotiations with exploration and production firm Pluspetrol Venezuela S.A. for the sale of the company's outstanding shares to Pluspetrol. The total consideration for the proposed transaction with Pluspetrol is approximately $373 million.

Commodities -

Crude was up 0.39%, and United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.4%, near its 52-week highs, following the petroleum inventories report. The reported that crude oil inventories had a draw of 0.219 million barrels, versus the consensus for a draw of 1.5 million - 2.1 million barrels.

Natural gas was down 1.09%, and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was off lows and now positive, up 0.4%.

Gold was down 0.08%, off session highs, and the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was off 0.08%. Silver was up 0.52%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.6%.

Consumer -

Consumer funds were inching closer to their 52-week highs: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.45%; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.28%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.3%.

In sector news, Restoration Hardware (RH) was down 6.5% after the specialty retailer late yesterday reported adjusted Q2 earnings of $0.49 per share, beating analyst forecasts by $0.06 per share, according to Capital IQ. Net revenues increased 30% year over year to $382.1 million, also topping analyst projections. Same-store sales rose 26% from the same quarter last year. The company raised its guidance for Q3 and FY14 above Street expectations.

Healthcare -

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 0.4%, nearing its 52-week highs; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were both trading at the higher end of their 52-week ranges. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) slipped lower but was still near the 52-week high of $207.78.

In corporate news, Lannett Company Inc. (LCI) was up near 6%, hitting a new 52-week high of $16.87 after late Tuesday Q4 reporting Q4 earnings of $0.12 per share, beating the Capital IQ consensus by $0.05. Revenue of $40.2 million also topped analyst estimates looking for $37.89 million. Looking forward, the drug-maker expects FY14 revenue in a range of $181 million to $186 million, exceeding the Street view by at least $14.29 million.

Power Play -

Technology -

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.46%, but still at the higher end of its 52-week range. iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) and iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) were weaker. On the other hand, iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) was up 0.41% and hit a new 52-week high of $76.04.

Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were weaker. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was down 0.10%.

In sector news, Apple (AAPL) was down more than 5% after at least three research firms cut their ratings for the stock a day after the tech company revealed its new iPhone products. UBS cut the tech giant to Neutral from Buy while Credit Suisse lowered shares to to Neutral from Outperform and Bank of America cut the stock to Neutral from Buy. Bank of America maintained its $520 price target.

Analysts had called the iPhone update "underwhelming," believing the price points for the "unlocked" iPhone 5C too high. The iPhone 5C was touted to be a budget phone for emerging markets. The company also featured a new finger print security measure and enhancements to the iOS7 platform, but the lack of updates on the new AAPL products like Apple TV, iPad and Mac disappointed investors.

Meanwhile, China Mobile (CHL) continued to slip lower, down near 3% at last check, after AAPL did not announce a carriage deal, as expected. CHL, though, reportedly received a license that will allow the iPhone to run on CHL's network.

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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