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Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Sink Lower on Yellen's Remarks

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.3%

iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): -0.6%

VIX Short-Term Futures ETN Ipath ( VXX ): +1.6%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.01%

3X Long Crude ETN Velocityshares ( UWTI ): -9%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were weaker. Actively-traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was down 0.01%.

U.S. stocks edged lower at session's half, as remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that the central bank still likely could increase interest rates at its upcoming policy meeting next month put the brakes on the recent rally for stocks.

Investors are looking ahead to a couple of Fed speakers - New York Fed President William Dudley will give a press briefing on research on income inequality at 2:30 pm ET and Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer will speak to the National Economists Club at 6 pm ET.

Power Play: Technology

Tech funds were higher, but underperforming 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 higher. Meanwhile, SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was up 0.3%.

Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 0.5%, and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.2%.

FARO Technologies (FARO) was down 30.4% after reporting Q3 sales of $72.5 million decreased 11.8% from the year-ago period and missed the CapIQ mean for $84.34 million. It swung to a loss of $0.05 per share, from a profit a year ago and missed expectations for a profit. It is cutting its workforce by approximately 8% and implementing further cost reduction initiatives. The board approved an increase in the existing share repurchase program from $30 million to $50 million. The company says Jay Freeland plans to step down as President and Chief Executive Officer and member of the board. He will keep his positions until a successor is named.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Funds in the financial sector were higher, in line with the broader market. Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was down 0.3%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 0.5%; Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (FAZ) was up 0.4%.

Walker & Dunlop (WD) was up 12% after it posted Q3 EPS of $0.66 a share, well above the street view of $0.48 as compiled by Capital IQ, and also above the $0.47 reported a year earlier. The company reported Q3 total transaction volume rose to $4.94 billion from $3.12 billion a year earlier. Walker & Dunlop also reported Q3 adjusted EBITDA of $31.0 million vs. $20.7 a year ago.

Energy

Energy funds were higher, performing above the broader market. Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 1.1% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 1.1%.

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) was down 8.1% after it reported Q3 2015 adjusted net loss of $83 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, which came in narrower than the Capital IQ consensus of a loss of $0.13 per diluted share. Revenue in the period was $2.89 billion, which is only half of last year's $5.70 billion but still ahead of the mean estimate of $2.79 billion. During the quarter, production averaged 667,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), a year-over-year increase of 3% adjusted for asset sales. As a result, the firm raised its output guidance for 2015 to a new range of 670 million - 680 million boe/d from the previous 667 million - 677 million boe/d.

Commodities

Crude was down 1%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 3.2%. Natural gas futures were down 2.9%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.4%. Gold was down 0.4% and SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.5%.

Consumer

Consumer funds were lower, underperforming 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 red.

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

Groupon (GRPN) was down 27.7% to a fresh three-year low after the company reported adjusted Q3 earnings of $0.05 per share, better than the analyst consensus of $0.02 per share on Capital IQ. Revenue was $713.6 million, below expectations of $733.2 million. Groupon added that Chief Operating Officer Rich Williams will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer. Outgoing CEO Eric Lefkofsky will once again serve as chairman of the board. Outgoing chairman Ted Leonsis will now serve as lead independent director. For Q4, the company expects revenue of $815 to $865 million, below expectations of $955 million. Adjusted earnings are seen in a range of a loss of $0.01 per share to a gain of $0.01 per share, vs. expectations of a profit of $0.07 per share.

Health Care

Health care funds were lower, performing below the broader market. Health Care SPDR (XLV), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) were weaker. Meanwhile. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 1.2%.

Diplomat Pharmacy (DPLO) was up 16.7% after the company said late Tuesday Q3 sales grew 59% to $947 million from the year-ago period and topped the CapIQ mean for $926.3 million. Adjusted EPS rose to $0.26 from $0.19 last year and beat expectations for $0.16. FY sales are seen between $3.25 billion and $3.4 billion, up from previous guidance of $3.2 billion to $3.4 billion. Estimates are for $3.32 billion. Adjusted EPS are seen between $0.69 and $0.73, up from its previous range of $0.56 to $0.60. The Street is at $0.73.

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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