Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Monday's regular session:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.1%
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.1%
SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): +1.2%
iShares China Large-Cap ETF ( FXI ): -0.2%
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ETN ( VXX ): -3.2%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including IWM and IVV were firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 1.1%.
U.S. stocks turn mildly higher at session's half, buoyed by gains in the oil market and support for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at its 100-day moving average.
Earlier, equities were lower, with investor confidence undermined by election results in Italy and risks of a U.S. trade war. Sunday's Italian election resulted in the Eurosceptic, anti-establishment Five Star Movement taking a third of the vote but not enough for a majority, and with more than 50% of the vote going to populist parties including the xenophobic League.
Economic data had little lasting impact on the markets. The February purchasing manager's services sector index rose to 55.9 from January's 53.3, while the corresponding index from the Institute for Supply Management fell slightly from January's 59.9 to 59.5, but beat expectations for a 58.8 print.
Power Play: Consumer
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods (IYK) were firmer.
Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was lower while retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were in the green.
Newell Brands (NWL) rose more than 3% following reports activist investor Carl Icahn has acquired an equity stake in the company. The stock purchase could place Icahn in a key role of deciding the winner in an ongoing proxy fight within the kitchenware company by one of its investors, Starboard Value LP, which has nominated an alternative slate of director candidates. Newell management is now meeting with lead investors, including Icahn, to explain its plans while Starboard has asked the company not sell any brands before its annual meeting in May, according to the New York Post, citing three sources with knowledge of the matter. Newell previously has said it will reshape its product portfolio, focusing on nine consumer divisions and putting the rest of the company up for sale.
Winners and Losers
The Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 1.5%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 4.1% and its bearish counterpart Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X shares (FAZ) was down 4%.
Hercules Capital (HTGC) was hanging on to a small gain Monday, rising more than 1% to a session high of $12.08 a share, after the specialty finance company Monday announced it has acquired Gibraltar Business Capital, which provides working capital to small and mid-market businesses. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but Hercules said it expects the deal will immediately add to its per-share earnings and generate a cash yield of 10% to 14%.
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 1.4% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 1.3%.
ACM Research (ACMR) was up 8% after the company reported improved Q4 net income and revenue and guiding FY18 sales above Wall Street expectations. Excluding one-time items, the maker of single-wafer wet cleaning equipment for semiconductor manufacturers earned $3.3 million compared with adjusted net income of $1.4 million during the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $17.2 million from $14.3 million last year and easily beating the Capital IQ consensus expecting $11.4 million in revenue. Looking forward, the company is projecting around $65 million in FY18 revenue, also topping the three-analyst consensus expecting $46.1 million.
Dow Jones US Energy Fund (IYE) was up 1.3 and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 1.2%.
OCI Partners (OCIP) added more than 2% after the methanol and ammonia producer swung to a Q4 profit compared with a net loss during the year-ago period as revenue grew year over year. The company earned $13 million during the three months ended Dec. 31, reversing a $17 million net loss during the final three months of 2016. Revenue increased to $98 million from $66 million last year. It also reported Q4 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $38 million, up from $16 million during the same quarter last year. No analyst estimates were available for comparison.
Crude was up 2.2%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 1.7%. Natural gas was down 0.1% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 0.8%.
Gold was down 0.3%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.3%. Silver was down 0.3%, while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.7%.
Health care funds Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (IYH), were weaker. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.1%.
Dermira (DERM) were up 2.4% after the company said that two phase 3 trials of its investigational treatment olumacostat glasaretil for moderate-to-severe acne vulgaris did not meet co-primary endpoints. Dermina said it plans to discontinue the program, with CEO Tom Wiggans adding that the firm was "surprised and extremely disappointed by the results" of the program.
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