The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense ( ITA) exchange-traded fund was one of very few winners during a losing session Thursday, thanks to a gain in shares of Boeing ( BA).

The aircraft company supported the ETF and kept the Dow Jones Industrial Average from slumping further into negative territory. Boeing reached an all-time high of $98.84 a share one day after CEO Jim McNerney backed the aerospace giant's outlook for the next two years. Boeing was recently up $2.56, or 2.7%, to $98.13. The rise buoyed the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF, which was adding 29 cents, or 0.5%, to $61.04.

Utility-related ETFs were among the biggest losers of the session. Among individual names, FPL Group ( FPL) was down 3.3%, Exelon ( EXC) slid 3.1%, American Electric Power ( AEP) was lower by 2.7%, and Duke Energy ( DUK) eased 1.5%.

The Ultra Utilities ProShares ( UPW) was shedding $3.13, or 4%, to $88.87. The Vanguard Utilities ETF ( VPU) lost $1.46, or 2%, to $86.69. The Utility HOLDRs ( UTH) was falling by $2.65, or 1.9%, to $147.32.

ETFs tracking metals and mining were also among the day's worst performers. Gold was recently lower by $7 to $655.60 an ounce, and silver was falling by 21 cents to $12.89 an ounce.

The PowerShares DB Base Metals ( DBB) ETF was falling by 90 cents, or 3.1%, to $25.94. The PowerShares DB Silver ( DBS) ETF was off 56 cents, or 2.2%, to $25.16. The Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX) ETF was lower by 81 cents, or 2.1%, to $38.51. The Market Vectors Steel ( SLX) ETF was down $1.18, or 1.8%, to $63.42.

Bundled securities tracking semiconductors were also losing ground. Various holdings were lower by 1% or more, including Intel ( INTC), Maxim Integrated ( MXIM), Xilinx ( XLNX), and Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD).

The Ultra Semiconductor ProShares ( USD) ETF was shedding $1.82, or 2.3%, at $76.92. The SPDR S&P Semiconductor ( XSD) ETF eased 88 cents, or 1.7% to $51.01. The Semiconductor HOLDRs ( SMH) ETF was recently down 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $36.23. The PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors ( PSI) ETF was lower by 17 cents, or 1%, at $18.71.

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