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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks in Positive Territory Following Upbeat Yellen Comments, Strong Economic Data

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.6%

VIX Short-Term Futures ETN Ipath ( VXX ): -0.8%

Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares ( NUGT ): -4.7%

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

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +1.4%

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 extended their gains into the session's half, fueled by upbeat comments made Thursday night by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on the state of the U.S. economy. At a speech at the University of Massachusetts, Yellen said it would be appropriate to raise interest rates this year, suggesting that the Federal Reserve is upbeat in its outlook for the U.S. economy, soothing investor jitters.

Economic data was also positive. Q2 gross domestic product was revised higher for a final time to 3.9% from an initial revision last month to 3.7%, beating expectations for GDP for the April-to-June period to remain unchanged.

The flash Purchasing Managers Index reading for the services sector in September declined somewhat to 55.6 from August's 56.1 reading, although that was still slightly better than estimates expecting a 55.5 reading this month.

Finally, consumer confidence improved during September despite the recent stock market volatility. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 87.2 from a 85.7 reading in August, also beating expectations for a improvement to 87.1.

Power Play: Consumer

Funds in the consumer sector inched higher, in line with the broader market. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) were in the green.

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY), SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were higher.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) fell 16.7% to a 5-year low after the retailer reported Q2 sales of $430 million, up from $418.6 million in the year-ago quarter but below the analyst consensus of $435 million on Capital IQ. Earnings were $0.04 per share, down from $0.10 per share in last year's Q2 and below the Street view of $0.07 per share.

For FY 2016, the company expects comparable sales growth in the low-single digits. EPS is seen at $0.56 to $0.64 per share. Analysts are expecting comparable sales growth of 4.1% and earnings of $0.82 per share. For Q3, the company sees comparable sales growth in the low single digits, vs. Street expectations of 5.2%. EPS is seen in the range of $0.10 to $0.14, vs. expectations of $0.23 per share.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Funds in the financial sector were weaker, but slightly ahead of the broader market. Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 1.4%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 3.6%; Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (FAZ) was down 3.6%.

Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) was up 1.6% after its Mercer unit reached a strategic alliance with Transamerica. Transamerica acquired Mercer's U.S. defines contribution administration book of business and will also become the preferred DC record keeping provider. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

Technology

Tech funds were higher, slightly ahead of the broader market. 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. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.

Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 0.8%, while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.5%.

Internap Network Services (INAP) was down 17.6% after saying late Thursday it sees Q3 sales between $77.5 million and $79 million, below the Capital IQ mean for $83.11 million. It sees Q3 adjusted EBITDA to be between $18 million and $19 million. For the year, it lowered sales guidance to between $320 million and $325 million from $331 million and $337 million, below estimates for $331.59 million. It cut its adjusted EBITDA guidance to $80 million to $85 million from $87 million to $93 million and cut its capex outlook to $60 million to $70 million from $70 million to $80 million.

Energy

Energy funds were moderately higher, underperforming the broader market. Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.03% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.02%.

Emerge Energy Services (EMES) sank 30.2% to a new lifetime low after the silica sand distributor for the fracking industry withdrew its full-year 2015 distribution guidance. In May, the company lowered full year distribution guidance from a range of $5.25 to $6.00 to $3.00. The company said the latest decision was made due to difficult market conditions in its Sand and Fuel segments caused by prolonged downward pressure on oil and natural gas prices . The company said it does not anticipate any further distribution guidance for 2015.

Commodities

Crude was up 1%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.4%. Natural gas was down 2.2% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 2.2%. Gold was down 0.8%, and SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.7%.

Health Care

Health care funds edged lower, in line with the broader market. Health Care SPDR (XLV), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) were weaker. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 1.8%.

Aratana (PETX) tumbled 29.2% after saying late Thursday that canine lymphoma products AT-004 and AT-005 products will not fully capture the market opportunity. As a result, the company has decided to explore second-generation monoclonal antibodies and other solutions to canine lymphoma.

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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