Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks in the Red as Slowing Global Growth, Geopolitical Tensions Overshadow Q4 GDP Growth

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

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -1%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.03%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -0.07%

iShares Inc iShares MSCI Brazil ETF ( EWZ ): -2.9%

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): -0.4%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.02%.

US stocks were in negative territory at session's half, weighed by evidence of slower global growth and heightened geopolitical pressures.

Global equity markets were off to a defensive start after China's manufacturing PMI fell to its lowest level in three years (further contraction from the month prior), and the anticipated meeting between the US and North Korea abruptly ended without a denuclearization agreement.

Earlier, stocks logged gains on better-than-expected Q4 GDP data. But while the 2.6% annualized rate of economic growth was above 2.2% estimates, it slowed from the 3.4% growth rate in the previous quarter, illustrating slowing global economic growth.

Stocks made another attempt to climb into positive territory on a 14-month high in the Chicago PMI (64.7 vs 56.7 prior) before worrisome remarks from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the progress of US/China trade talks threw cold water on the move.

In other economic data, weekly jobless claims rose by 8,000 to 225,000 -- matching forecasts. Continuing claims rose by 79,000 to 1.81 million.

Power Play: Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.8% and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods (IYK) were higher.

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was down 0.4% while retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were lower.

Monster Beverage (MNST) rose 10% after the energy drinks company reported Q4 EPS increased 22.7% to $0.43 for the December quarter, from $0.35 a year earlier. That topped the $0.41 average estimate of analysts surveyed by Capital IQ. Q4 sales increased 14.1% to $924.2 million, from $810.4 million. Without the adoption of Accounting Standards Codification 606, sales increased 15.1% to $932.7 million. Analysts had projected $907.8 million. The company said it has set up a new share buyback plan of up to an additional $500 million of its shares. As of Feb. 26, the company had $20.6 million remained available for buyback under the repurchase program started last August.

Winners and Losers


The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.08%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was down 1.2%.

Brighthouse Financial (BHF) was down more than 6% after the company said Anant Bhalla stepped down as its CFO and will pursue new opportunities. Brighthouse did not disclose further details on Bhalla's departure, but noted the resignation was amicable and not due to matter's related to the company's financial statements or disclosures. Brighthouse COO Conor Murphy was named interim CFO, with immediate effect, while the company searches for a new chief financial officer.


Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.01%, while tech funds iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) and iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) were in the red.

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

ORBCOMM (ORBC) fell nearly 18% after i t report ed late Wednesday a GAAP Q4 net loss of $0.07 per share, trimming a $0.10 per share loss during the year-ago period but still missing the Capital IQ consensus expecting a $0.03 per share net loss at the internet of things company. Total revenue declined to $66.3 million during the three months ended Dec. 31 compared with $76.0 million during the same quarter in 2017 and also trailing the $76.1 million Street view.


Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.3% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 1%.

Vistra Energy Corp. (VST) fell marginally after it said GAAP loss in 2018 dropped to $54 million, or $0.11 per share, from $254 million, or $0.59 in 2017. The company said revenue surged to $9.14 billion from $5.43 billion in 2017. In 2019, the company sees non-GAAP net income for continuing operations in the a range of $993 million to $1.15 billion, with adjusted EBITDA between $3.22 billion and $3.42 billion.


Crude was up 0.4%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.5%. Natural gas up 0.1% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.2%.

Gold was down 0.4%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.4%. Silver was down 0.7%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.7%.

Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was down 0.11% and other health care funds including Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (IYH) were lower. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 0.7%.

Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) surged nearly 8% after the biopharmaceutical company reported Q4 net loss shrank to $2.97 for the December quarter, from a net loss of $4.43 for the year-earlier period. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Capital IQ was for a net loss of $2.49 per share. Q4 revenue increased to $53.3 million from $37.7 million, topping the analyst consensus of $52.5 million.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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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