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Mid-Day ETFs: ETFs, Stocks Weaker as Trump Rally Sputters Following Lack of Policy Details from Conference

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

Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares ( NUGT ): +3.9%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): +1.6%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.5%%

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +1.4%

SPDR Select Sector Fund - Financial ( XLF ): -1.1%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were edging lower. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.5%.

U.S. stocks were in the red at session's half, with losses across the three benchmark indexes as the so-called "Trump rally" started to fade. The election of Donald Trump as president in November sent markets shooting to record highs on hopes of tax cuts, lighter industry regulation and pro-growth policies; however, a press conference held by the President-elect on Wednesday - which lacked economic policy details - seemed to fall short of investors' hopes.

In economic data news, weekly jobless claims rose by 10,000 to 247,000 versus forecasts for claims to increase to a seasonally adjusted 258,000. Continuing jobless claims dropped by 16,000 to 2.1 million.

And, the import price index increased 0.4% in December, versus an expected 0.7% rise. Excluding petroleum, import prices were down 0.2% from unchanged in November. Export prices edged up 0.3% against consensus of a 0.2% increase.

Power Play: Health Care

Health care funds were lower, but still just ahead of the broader market. Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were firmer. Biotechnology fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.4%.

MYOS Rens (MYOS) was down 48% after saying that the Supreme Court of New York in the County of New York granted the company preliminary restraints in a lawsuit against its partner RENS Technology, its parent company RENS Agriculture Science & Technology and Ren Ren, a principal in both entities and a company director. The court also scheduled a further hearing for Feb. 14 at which time it would determine whether to issue a preliminary injunction containing the same relief and order the attachment of the stock and warrant to satisfy any judgment entered in favor of the company. Myos alleges the breach of a securities purchase accord under which RENS Technology agreed to invest an aggregate of $20.3 million in the company in exchange for an aggregate of 3,537,037 shares of common stock and warrants to purchase an aggregate of 884,259 shares of common stock. The company sought compensation and asked the court to restrain RENS and its agents from selling or transferring 1.5 million of the shares at a warrant permitting the purchase of 375,000 shares at $7.00 each.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 1.1%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 2.3%, while its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 2.2%.

Allstate (ALL) was down 0.6% after it said it hired an experienced team of six investment professionals to focus on providing non-traditional capital and liquidity solutions across asset classes, industries and geographies. The investment size ranges from $25 million to $100 million, and the team can execute through both the primary and secondary markets, Allstate said.

Technology

Tech funds were weaker, behind the broader market. Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) hit a new 52-week high. 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 in negative territory. Meanwhile, SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was up 0.6%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 2% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was down 1.3%.

Straight Path Communications (STRP) was up 31.6% after saying that it signed a comprehensive settlement with the Federal Communications Commission related to the company's wireless spectrum licenses. As part of the agreement, the FCC has terminated its investigation of Straight Path, and Straight Path can now move forward with the vast majority of its nationwide 39 GHz spectrum fully intact, and its 28 GHz spectrum unchanged. Straight Path said it also agreed to pay $15 million in installments over a nine-month period. The company will proceed with its plan to market its spectrum assets to maximize shareholder value. Additionally, Straight Path agreed to pay the FCC 20% of the value received from a sale of its spectrum assets. If Straight Path does not announce a transaction within 12 months, it will pay another $85 million to the FCC, or return its spectrum licenses to the FCC. The company said the settlement has cleared the way for it to implement a review of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.7% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.6%.

Hess (HES) was down 5.1% after the company said its 2017 capital and exploratory budget will be $2.25 billion, up over 18% from the $1.9 billion spent in 2016. The oil company added that its Q4 results will include a non-cash charge of $3.8 billion to establish valuation allowances against net deferred tax assets as of Dec. 31. The quarter will also include an after-tax charge of approximately $700 million to fully impair the carrying value of interests in Equus. The company decided in the quarter to defer further development of the Equus natural gas fields on blocks WA-390-P and WA-474-P (Hess 100%) offshore the North West Shelf of Australia. Finally, the quarter will include additional after-tax charges affecting comparability of earnings of approximately $140 million for rig exit costs, loss on debt extinguishment, impairment of rail cars, severance and other charges.

Commodities

Crude was up 1.5%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 1.5%. Natural gas was up 5% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 3.4%.

Gold was down 0.3%. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.6%. Silver was down 0.2% while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.2%.

Consumer

Consumer staples funds were higher, in line with the broader market. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were weaker.

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

Vista Outdoor (VSTO) was down 24.5% after saying that it expects to record a material, non-cash intangible asset impairment charge in its Hunting and Shooting Accessories unit in its fiscal Q3. The company said it does not expect the impairment charge to have any impact on future operations, affect its liquidity, affect cash flows from operating activities, or affect compliance with the financial covenants set forth in its debt instruments. A "triggering event" for the segment happened as the softening retail environment and increased promotional activity the company saw in the first two quarters continued into Q3. Vista Outdoor says it is in the process of finalizing the actual amount of the impairment, but preliminary analysis indicates the impairment charge will be in the range of $400 million to $450 million. The company says it expects that the analysis supporting the impairment will be completed in time to allow for its recording in Q3.

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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