Exchange-traded funds tracking the financial sector were among the few winners of Wednesday's session, thanks to advances in several broker names.

Recently, Bear Stearns ( BSC), Charles Schwab ( SCHW), CME Group ( CME) and Morgan Stanley ( MS) were all higher by 1.5% or more.

The Ultra Financials ProShares ( UYG) was rising $1, or 1.8%, to $57.30. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Broker-Dealers ( IAI) was up 76 cents, or 1.5%, to $51.48. The KBW Regional Banking ( KRE) added 58 cents, or 1.3%, to $44.76. The WisdomTree International Financial ( DRF) was gaining 30 cents, or 1.1%, to $28.47.

Bundled securities related to the semiconductor sector were also higher. National Semiconductor ( NSM), Intel ( INTC) and Texas Instruments ( TXN) were all higher by 1% or more.

The Ultra Semiconductor ProShares ( USD) rose $1.61, or 1.8%, to $89.96. The SPDR S&P Semiconductor ( XSD) was up 75 cents, or 1.4%, to $55.69. The PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors ( PSI) was adding 17 cents, or 0.9%, to $19.02.

On the other hand, ETFs tracking gold and silver were among the worst performers of Wednesday's session. Recently, gold prices were losing $4.60 to $734.20 an ounce. Silver was down 13 cents to $13.48 an ounce. Copper and other precious metals were also lower.

The Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX) was down 64 cents, or 1.4%, to $43.95. The iShares Silver Trust ( SLV) eased 74 cents, or 0.6%, to $132.93. The iShares Comex Gold Trust ( IAU) was losing 22 cents, or 0.3%, to $72.24.

Bundled securities tracking homebuilders were also among the biggest losers. Among individual names, D.R. Horton ( DHI), Lennar ( LEN), Standard Pacific ( SPF) and Meritage Homes ( MTH) were losing 1.4% or more.

The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction ( ITB) was shedding 23 cents, or 1.1%, to $20.25. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ( XHB) was falling 22 cents, or 1%, to $21.43.

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