The Internet HOLDRs ( HHH) was one of Thursday's best gainers, climbing 4% to $48.77, as holding Amazon.com ( AMZN) was adding 5.3%.

The PowerShares Dynamic Software ( PSJ) ETF was another strong performer, recently up 35 cents, or 2.1%, to $17.45. Red Hat ( BRCM), one of the ETF's major holdings, surged 9.8%.

ETFs tracking homebuilders edged higher after Susquehanna Financial upgraded homebuilder Pulte Homes ( PHM) to neutral from negative, based on valuation.

The SPDR Homebuilders ( XHB) ETF was gaining 57 cents, or 1.8%, to $32.15. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction ( ITB) ETF was adding 53 cents, or 1.5%, to $36.13.

Bundled securities tracking the semiconductor sector were higher for a fourth-straight session following another climb in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector Index. For the week, the index has risen by nearly 11%. On Thursday, help came from an 8.7% jump in Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD) after Citigroup upgraded the chipmaker to buy from hold.

The iShares Goldman Sachs Semiconductor ( IGW) was recently up 1.8% to $59.92, the Semiconductor HOLDRs ( SMH) ETF was adding 1.5% to $33.43, the SPDR Semiconductor ( XSD) was gaining 1.4% to $47.10 and the PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors ( PSI) ETF was higher by 1.3% to $16.85.

Meanwhile, ETFs related to commodities were among the day's decliners, as crude, gold and silver prices plummeted. The iShares Silver Trust ( SLV) ETF was recently lower by 2.8% to $119.80, the PowerShares Dynamic Oil & Gas Services ( PXJ) ETF was losing 2.4% to $19.51 and streetTRACKS Gold Shares ( IDU) ETF was off 2.1% to $61.17.

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