Exchange-traded funds tracking homebuilders were among the best performers Tuesday. Shortly after the session began, the National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on sales contracts signed, rose 0.7% to 109.3 in February, from 108.5 in January.
The Internet Infrastructure HOLDRs (IIH) ETF was another winner. Holdings Akamai Technologies (AKAM), BEA Systems (BEAS) and Internap Network Services (INAP) were adding 2% or more, and the ETF was climbing 14 cents, or 2.7%, to $5.28.
Other winners include Retail HOLDRs (RTH), which rose 1.6% as holdings Best Buy (BBY), Home Depot (HD), Lowe's (LOW) and Target (TGT) were all higher by 2% or greater. The retail ETF was gaining $1.65 to $103.33.Elsewhere, bundled securities tracking the energy sector were among the worst performers of the day. The front-month May crude contract fell hard after Iran's top international negotiator, Ali Larijani, suggested discussions with Britain in order to resolve the captive situation peacefully. Iran nabbed 15 British sailors and marines while they were searching vessels in the Persian Gulf on March 23 and has held them since. Crude prices were recently losing $1.73 at $64.21 a barrel. The United States Oil (USO) ETF was recently down 2.2% to $52.40. The iPath Goldman Sachs Crude Oil Index (OIL) ETF eased 2.2% to $38.24. The PowerShares Dynamic Energy Exploration (PXE) ETF was shedding 0.5% to $20.40. The Oil Services HOLDRs (OIH) ETF was recently lower by 0.2% to $148.26.