Stock ETFs Rise but Microsoft Fades After Skype Deal | ETF Trends

U.S. stock exchange traded funds (ETFs) were higher Tuesday but Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT) shares were down over 1% after the tech giant said it will acquire Internet telephone services provider Skype for $8.5 billion in cash.

PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ) was up 0.4% in midday trading Tuesday.  [Nasdaq ETF Higher as Microsoft Deal, Hearings in Focus]

Activity in the largest exchange traded fund for silver has spiked the past two weeks along with volatility as traders look for alternate ways to play the precious metal following a series of futures margin hikes. Daily trading volume in the $13 billion iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) has been running nearly ten times the average seen over the past six to nine months. [Silver ETF Volume Explodes on Margin Hikes, Volatility]

A rare earths exchange traded fund could see trading volume ramp up this week after Molycorp (NYSE: MCP) reports quarterly results following Tuesday’s closing bell. Molycorp is the third-largest holding in Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (NYSEArca: REMX) at nearly 7% of the portfolio. The Van Eck ETF has about $500 million in assets and levies a net expense ratio of 0.57%. The fund is up nearly 13% so far this year as prices of rare earth materials have risen. [Molycorp Results to Steer Rare Earths ETF]

The largest oil exchange traded fund was down about 1% before Tuesday’s opening bell after CME Group announced higher margin requirements for oil futures. Oil prices bounced back somewhat Monday on fresh Middle East concerns, following last week’s big sell-off. Also, rising water levels in the Mississippi River threaten to inundate some of the largest oil refineries in the U.S. U.S. Gasoline Fund (NYSEArca: UGA) was up 6.3% on Monday, and U.S. Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO) was up 5.1% but down 8.2% in the past two weeks. [Oil ETFs Lower After Margin Hike]