Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Turn Positive on Upbeat Economic Data

Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.2%, shy of year highs.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.62%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -0.71%, near its 52-week low

ProShares Trust II ( UVXY ): -1.2%, near 52 week lows.

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +2.2%

iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (FXI): -1.6%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are mostly weaker. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is up 0.07%.

U.S. stocks are mixed to higher following the release of a report that showed for the month of January business inventories rose 1% to a seasonally adjusted $1.64 trillion, blowing past analysts' forecasts. Upbeat data was also reported earlier: February retail sales were up 1.1%; ex-auto, retail sales grew 1%, beating forecasts; export prices ex-agriculture increased 0.6% in February, while import prices ex-oil were unchanged.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 0.3%, near its 52-week high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.79%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 0.84%, near its 52-week low.

Among financial stocks, E*TRADE (ETFC) added 1.5% and hit a new 52-week high of $11.62. The financial services company reported that its Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTs) for February were 152,154, a 1% decrease from January and a 10% decrease from the year-ago period. The company added 31,123 gross new brokerage accounts in February, ending the month with approximately 2.9 million brokerage accounts - an increase of 9,941 from January. Total accounts ended the month at approximately 4.5 million. Net new brokerage assets were positive $0.9 billion in the month. During the month, customer security holdings increased by 1%, or $1.1 billion, and brokerage-related cash ended the month unchanged, at $34.2 billion, while customers were net buyers of approximately $0.9 billion in securities. Bank-related cash and deposits ended the month unchanged, at $6.9 billion.

Technology -

Tech ETFs were mixed to firmer: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.17%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.34%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), down 0.04% from near year highs; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) up 0.06%, also near year highs.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 0.48% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.5%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is up 0.29%.

In sector news, Velti (VELT) has tumbled 25% and hit year lows after it reported late Tuesday Q4 adjusted earnings of $0.39 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.58. Revenues were $97.5 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $106.85 mln. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $0.59 on revenues of $87.11 mln. The company expects Q1 revenues of $40 mln - $44 mln and FY13 revenues of $255 mln - $280 mln, versus the Street view of $62.19 mln and $339.07 mln, respectively.

Commodities -

Crude was up 0.18%; natural gas was up 0.73%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.63%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 1.25%.

Gold was down 0.37% and silver was down 0.98%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.46%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.9%.

Among stocks, BHP Billiton (BHP) is down 1% as it denied any wrongdoing after the Australian Federal Police and US authorities launched an investigation into bribery allegations surrounding the company's sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics, according to The Australian.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are higher, near their 52-week highs: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.22%; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), down 0.10%, but with a new 52-week high of $83.52; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.25%.

Retail ETFs are firmer at mid-day: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), up 1%, with a new 52-week high of $70.05; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), up 0.9%, with a new 52-week high of $27.21; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), up 0.52%, with a new 52-week high of $48.28.

In sector news, Express (EXPR) has trimmed earlier losses of about 17%, now down 8.2% after the company reported Q4 earnings of $0.70 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.74. Revenues were $728.7 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $726.62 mln. Comparable sales, inclusive of e-commerce sales, increased 1.5%, following a 5% increase in the same quarter in 2011. The company expects Q1 EPS of $0.34 - $0.38, and comparable sales, including e-commerce, to range from flat to down low single digits. Analysts are looking for EPS of $0.46. For FY13, the company sees $1.40 - $1.54 EPS, versus the Street view of $1.59, and comparable sales, including e-commerce, to increase low single digits compared to a flat performance in 2012.

Power Play -

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs edged lower but were near their 52-week highs: Health Care SPDR (XLV), now flat; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), now up 0.02%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), now up 0.07%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) slipped lower, down 0.11% but above day lows.

In corporate news, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI) continues to slip lower, now down 34.74%, with a new 52-week low of $7.72, after it said it anticipates a change in ordering patterns of FUSILEV following the recent stabilization of the folate analog market. The company now expects that FUSILEV sales will be approximately $10 to $15 million for the first quarter of the year, and approximately $80 to $90 million for the 2013 fiscal year. Spectrum Pharmaceuticals anticipates total company revenues in the range of $160 to $180 million for the full-year 2013. That's significantly below the $297.3 million analysts expected.

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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