Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in 'Monday's regular session:
VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short Term ETN ( TVIX ): -6.3%
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.1%
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ):+0.4%
SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -0.1%
Barclays Bank PLC iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): -2.5%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.9%.
U.S. stocks were higher at session's half, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher for the eighth straight day as signs of cooling trade tensions between the U.S. and China encouraged Wall Street, pushing the blue chip index closer to the 25,000 milestone and the Russell 2000 to the brink of a new record high.
Late Sunday, President Donald Trump reversed his stance on Chinese telecom ZTE Corp and pledged to get the company "back into business, fast" less than a month after banning ZTE from buying U.S. components. The message came ahead of additional trade negotiations between U.S. and Chinese trade representatives this week. Chinese regulators in turn said they would take another look at Qualcomm's (QCOM) $44 billion offer for NXP Semiconductors (NXPI).
However, hawkish comments from Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester implying four rate hikes in 2018 is considered "gradual" briefly put a cap on gains. But coming from one of the more hawkish members of the Fed, Mester's remark failed to intimidate investors.
Power Play: Health Care
Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 0.5% and other health care funds Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were higher. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.8%.
Galectin Therapeutics (GALT) rose nearly 32% after the company said it is proceeding with its plans for a phase 3 clinical program with its galectin-3 inhibitor GR-MD-02 in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) cirrhosis, incorporating advice and guidance obtained in a meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration, the company said. Proceeding with the phase 3 development program represents a significant milestone for Galectin Therapeutics and a pathway forward for the development of GR-MD-02 as a potentially important therapy in patients with NASH cirrhosis, it added. The primary endpoint will be chosen from two endpoints that the FDA agreed may be acceptable: The change in hepatic venous pressure gradient, a measure of liver blood pressure, or the progression to esophageal varices.
Winners and Losers
The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 0.1%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 1.1% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was up 1%.
Kingsway Financial Services (KFS) rose more than 1% after the firm reported wider Q1 loss on declining revenue, year-over-year. The company reported a Q1 loss of $0.11, compared to $0.08 a year earlier. Kingsway reported Q1 revenue of $45.7 million, down from $46.7 million a year earlier. Analysts' forecasts weren't available for comparison.
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 0.1% while other tech funds 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 2% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 1.4%.
Symantec (SYMC) surged more than 8% after the company said it will host a conference call on May 14 to provide more information on a previously announced internal investigation by its audit committee and further detail on its financial results and outlook. CEO Greg Clark and CFO Nick Noviello will be attending the call and take questions on a range of issues, it added.
Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.7% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.8%.
Nine Energy Service (NINE) rose some 8% to a record high after the completion and production services company said it reversed a sizable net loss during the January-to-March fiscal period last year and reported better-than-expected Q1 revenue.
Crude was up 0.4%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.6%. Natural gas was up 1.2% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 1%.
Gold was down 0.1%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.02%. Silver was down 0.6%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.3%..
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.04% and other funds Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were firmer.
Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was up 0.3% and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were in positive territory.
Sears Holdings (SHLD) rose more than 10% after the retailer said a special committee of its board is initiating a formal process to explore the sale of its assets. The assets in question are the Kenmore brand and related assets, the Sears Home Improvement Products business of the Sears Home Services division, and the Parts Direct business of the Sears Home Services division, according to a statement. This comes as the board received a letter from ESL Investments, Inc., expressing interest in participating as a purchaser of all or a portion of the sale assets. The special committee, which consists solely of independent directors, was established by the board to evaluate ESL's proposal, to actively solicit third-party interest in the assets, and to explore any other alternatives that may maximize value for the company.
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