Exchange traded funds (ETFs) turned mixed on the last trading day of the year as investors opted to take profits off the table after a strong year of gains.
- The U.S. dollar edged lower in early trading Friday, extending the previous day’s slide as strong economic data out of Washington encouraged trade out of the greenback and into riskier, higher-yielding currencies. “The U.S. dollar is softer on the last trading day of the year with position squaring likely the main driver,” said analysts at Brown Brothers Harriman in a note early today. PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSEArca: UUP) is sinking in kind this morning, down nearly 1% so far.
- European markets weakened as investors said farewell to what has generally been a solid year for equities, with the Stoxx 600 index gaining nearly 9% in 2010. European stocks generally rose in 2010, helped by solid demand from emerging markets and a quicker-than-expected recovery in the United States. ProShares Ultra MSCI Europe (NYSEArca: UPV) is up 1.5% so far today.
- Universal American Corp. shares (NYSE: UAM) have exploded almost 40% today after CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) said today that it agreed to acquire UAM’s Medicare prescription-drug operation for $1.25 billion. Under the terms, for each of their shares, Universal holders get $12.80 to $13 cash plus a share in a new company that will operate UAM’s Medicare Advantage and traditional insurance businesses. The PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals ETF (NYSEArca: PJP) is up more than 20% this year.
- Imax Corp. shares (NASDAQ: IMAX) is up more than 11% today as the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported that Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) could be prepared to bid more than $40 a share for the cinema operator and that Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) might also be interested in Imax. Investors can consider the PowerShares Dynamic Leisure & Entertainment ETF (NYSEArca: PEJ) to invest in the entertainment sector. Disney is 4.9% of the fund.
Gregory A. Clay contributed to this article.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.