Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Return to Positive Territory on Easing Tax Reform Woes, Upbeat Manufacturing Data

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.9%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +1.2%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.3%

iShares Russell 2000 ETF ( IWM ): +1.5%

iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF ( EZU ): +0.1%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 1%..

U.S. stocks turned positive at session's half, with major benchmarks trading with sizable gains after the latest obstacles to tax reform were removed, and economic data underscored the strength of the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Stocks recouped their losses from the previous session after Florida Senator Marco Rubio reportedly backpedalled on his recent opposition to the tax reform package.

Besides tax reform, stocks were also getting a lift from this morning's economic data on industrial production and capacity utilization. While production slowed slightly from the previous month, capacity utilization set a near 2-year high in November. The Empire State manufacturing index fell back to 18.0 in December from 19.4 the month prior, in-line with expectations.

Power Play: 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 higher.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 1.3% while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.9%.

Oracle (ORCL) fell 4.4% after the company said on its conference call it expects Q3 revenue to grow in the range of 2% to 4%. Non-GAAP EPS is seen at $0.68 to $0.70 per share. Analysts are forecasting Q3 revenue of $9.67 billion and earnings of $0.72 per share.

Winners and Losers


Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 1.3%, Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 3.3% and its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 3.2%.

Commerce Union Bancshares (CUBN) and Community First Inc said Friday their shareholders have approved the companies' proposed merger. The deal has also received all necessary regulatory approvals and the deal is expected to close Jan. 1. CUBN shares were up 1.2%.


Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.1% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.1%.

SandRidge Energy (SD) shares were 0.2% higher after Carl Icahn in a regulatory filing filed a preliminary proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission asking fellow shareholders to vote against the company's proposed issuance of shares to raise funds to acquire Bonanza Creek (BCEI). BCEI shares were down 1.5%.


Crude was up 0.4%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.3%. Natural gas was down 2.8% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 3%

Gold was up 0.01%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.1%. Silver was up 0.9%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.7%.

Health Care

Health care funds Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), were higher. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.9%.

AmpliPhi Biosciences (APHB) dropped 6.4% after the company said late Thursday it hired in December Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc. to help it explore strategic alternatives. It is looking to fund phase 2 clinical development for AB-SA01 or AB-PA01.


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

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 also in the green.

Under Armour (UA, UAA) shares rose 8.6% after the maker of athletic apparel, footwear and accessories said it has formed an official partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee. Under the terms of the partnership, Under Armour becomes the official "high performance footwear supplier for Team Canada" for the next eight years. This is Under Armour's first sponsorship with a National Olympic committee. Team Canada athletes will first appear in Under Armour high performance footwear at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 opening ceremony. Shares also were upgraded at Stifel Nicolaus.

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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