Stock ETFs Shake Off Weak Durable Goods Orders

 |  Includes: PEZ, QQQ, RCD, SLV, XLI
by: Tom Lydon

Stock exchange traded funds were higher Wednesday even as weaker-than-expected manufacturing data added to concerns that the U.S. economy’s recovery is slowing down.

The April report on durable goods orders will be in the spotlight Wednesday as the release is a measure for the health of overall economic activity. Industrial sector exchange traded funds could move on the news, as this report is also a measure of business investment. April durable goods orders are anticipated to be down by 2.6%, due to weak aircraft orders. SPDR Industrial Select Sector Fund (NYSEArca: XLI) is up 26.5% year to date.

A plunge in Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL) shares on Wednesday after disappointing quarterly results provided a headwind for ETFs tracking the consumer discretionary sector. Polo Ralph Lauren said its fiscal fourth-quarter net income fell to $73 million from $114 million in the year-ago period. The stock was down more than 10% in premarket action Wednesday. Polo Ralph Lauren is a minor holding in PowerShares Dynamic Consumer Discretionary (NYSEArca: PEZ) and Rydex S&P Equal Weight Consumer Discretionary (NYSEArca: RCD).

Cisco (NasdaqGS: CSCO) shares were active in Wednesday’s premarket with a fractional loss as a closely watched Nasdaq ETF was set for a mixed open. Cisco was off 0.6% while PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ) was little changed before the bell. The Nasdaq ETF has been bouncing around its 50-day moving average lately, while Cisco shares have been trending lower. Cisco represents 3.5% of PowerShares QQQ.

Silver ETFs were poised to rise in the U.S. Wednesday after rallying more than 4% the previous session. Silver ETFs may climb to test their 50-day moving average following the big sell-off earlier this month. The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) was up nearly 2% in premarket trading Wednesday.

Global X Funds has listed its own ETF targeting the global auto industry just a little over one week after First Trust launched the world’s first auto ETF. The Global X Auto ETF (NYSEArca: VROM) tries to reflect the performance of the S-Network Global Automotive Index, which is a modified capitalization-weighted index that holds publicly traded companies which produce automobiles, automobile parts, tires and related products. The index rebalances semiannually. The fund holds 50 of the world’s largest and most active auto-related companies.

Russell Investments has launched the first set of its own exchange traded funds as the index provider and money manager tries to reach financial advisors and institutional investors with specialized ETFs.

Gregory A. Clay contributed to this article.