Stock exchange traded funds overcame earlier losses Thursday to close in the green as Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT) led technology ETFs higher and countered the weight of weaker-than-forecast jobless claims and GDP growth.
Microsoft shares rallied 2% on Thursday after Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn said he was bullish on the stock but called for the ouster of Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Microsoft helped lift PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ) back near its 50-day moving average. If the Nasdaq-100 ETF fails at this key technical level, it could be a discouraging sign for the overall market. The next hurdle for the Nasdaq ETF would be the 38.2% retracement line from the dot-com bust. [Microsoft Powers Nasdaq ETF Back Near 50-Day Average]
Semiconductor ETFs rose Thursday, following Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL) shares higher in their public debut. Freescale gained more than 5% Thursday in the initial public offering. The shares were initially priced at $18 each, below the expected range. Semiconductor HOLDS (Amex: SMH) and iShares PHLX SOX Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (NasdaqGM: SOXX) were both fractionally higher Thursday. [Semiconductor ETFs Higher on Freescale IPO]
Financial ETFs gained ground Thursday along with closely watched sector stocks American International Group (NYSE: AIG) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC). Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEArca: XLF) was up 0.6% in afternoon dealings. AIG and Bank of America also traded higher. [Financial ETF Rise With AIG, Bank of America]
Oil ETFs continued their rocky ride Thursday as U.S. Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO) slipped almost 1%, but some options traders are positioning for gains in energy sector ETFs. Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEArca: XLE) ended slightly higher on Thursday after rallying the previous session. [Oil Falls as Option Traders Play for Energy ETF Rebound]
Food ETFs were flat Thursday along with HJ Heinz (NYSE: HNZ) shares as the company reported quarterly results and met with analysts and investors. Heinz reported lower-then-expected profit and said it plans to shutter some factories and cut up to 1,000 jobs. Global X Food ETF (NYSEArca: EATX) and PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage (NYSEArca: PBJ) were both little changed Thursday. [Food ETFs Stuck After Heinz Results]
Technology ETF ended higher Thursday on mixed performance from components including NetApp (NasdaqGS: NTAP) and Computer Sciences (NYSE: CSC). NetApp shares rose as Wall Street cheered the firms’ quarterly results. Separately, Computer Sciences shares slumped Thursday in the wake of the company’s quarterly update. Earlier this month, the company lowered its revenue and earnings forecast for the full year. Rydex S&P Equal Weight Technology (NYSEArca: RYT) slipped fractionally Thursday. [Tech ETFs Mixed on NetApp, Computer Sciences]
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. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. 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.