Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Turn Positive as S&P 500 Hits New Intraday High - Lowered IMF Guidance, Geopolitical Tensions Still Weigh

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.24%, hit a record high

PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ): +0.66%, hit a 13-year high

iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): +0.42%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.08%

iPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures ETN ( VXX ): +0.50%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were firmer at the session's half, with some touching or nearing record or multi-year highs. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.66% and reached a 13-year high.

Likewise, U.S. stocks moved to positive territory, with the S&P 500 hitting another intraday record high. But geopolitical tensions continued to hold gains in check. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund said it expects U.S. growth to pick up above 3% over the next eighteen months, despite lowering its forecast for economic growth to 1.7% from 2%. The IMF said it trimmed its forecast due to weakness in the U.S. economy during Q1.

Looking ahead, investors will be focusing on earnings reports in Wednesday's after hours, particularly from Facebook (FB).

Power Play: Technology

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 firmer and near record or multi-year highs. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 2.67% while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was down 1.73%.

Unisys (UIS) tumbled nearly 18% after it reported late Tuesday a Q2 net loss of $12.1 million, or $0.24 per share, which included $17.9 million of pension expense, and compared to year-ago net income of $20.4 million, or $0.46. Excluding items, the company earned $0.11 per share, down from $0.91 a year earlier. The Cap IQ consensus was $0.93 per share, but it's unclear if this is comparable. Q2 revenue declined 6% to $806 million from $859 million in the year-ago quarter. The Cap IQ figure was for $870 million.

Winners and Losers


Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 0.33%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.88% while its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 0.82%.

MarketAxess Holdings (MKTX) was up 5.68% after it reported Q2 net income of $18.2 million, or $0.48 per share, compared with the prior-year period's $19.3 million, or $0.51. Revenue was $64.96 million, up 2.3% from $63.5 million in the same quarter last year. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were expecting EPS of $0.46 on revenues of $64.46 million. The company is updating its fiscal 2014 expense guidance and now expects total expenses for 2014 will be in the range of $144 million - $148 million, down from prior guidance of $150 million - $157 million. The company is also updating its capital spending guidance and now expects capital expenditures will be in the range of $15 million - $17 million, down from prior guidance of $17 million - $20 million. MKTX reconfirms its full-year 2014 tax rate guidance of 37% to 40%.


Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.42%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.47%.

Talisman Energy (TLM, TLM,TO) was up 10.86% after it acknowledged is has been approached by Spanish energy giant Repsol about various transactions that Talisman did not identify.

"There is no assurance that any transaction will be agreed. Until such time as it is appropriate to make a public announcement on any potential transaction, Talisman does not intend to make any further comment on this matter," according to a company statement.

Reuters reported that Repsol said it has been studying potential acquisitions to boost its upstream business, including Talisman, but that it has not reached any decisions.


Crude was up 0.39%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.53%. Natural gas was up 0.69% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.62%.

Gold was up 0.06%, and silver was up 0.03%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.01% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.10%.


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

Tupperware Brands (TUP) was down 9.66% after reporting Q2 adjusted EPS of $1.47, a penny shy of the analyst consensus on Capital IQ. Sales were $674 million, below expectations of $689 million. For Q3, the company expects earnings of $0.89 to $0.94, vs. the Street view of $1.08 per share. For the full year, the company is targeting EPS of $5.40 to $5.50, vs. estimates of $5.73 per share.

Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) were firmer. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.95%.

Puma Biotechnology (PBYI) soared 286.50% after announcing results from the Phase III clinical trial of PB272 (neratinib) Tuesday. The company said top line results from the Phase III clinical trial of PB272 in early stage breast cancer were statistically significant and it plans to file for regulatory approval of neratinib in the first half of 2015. The results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a 33% improvement in disease free survival, the primary endpoint, versus placebo. The company also announced it is amending its licensing agreement with Pfizer (PFE) for the drug to be solely responsible for the expenses associated with the ongoing legacy clinical trials for the drug and will pay royalty fees to Pfizer upon commercialization.

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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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