NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Mining and materials ETFs got a lift in Friday morning trading thanks to positive sentiment around the market's major steel players. The SPDR S&P Metals and Mining Fund ( XME)ended up 2.83%, driven by strength in Alcoa ( AA), AK Steel ( AKS) and U.S. Steel ( X). Shares of Alcoa are rising ahead of its earnings announcement on Monday. Meanwhile steel stocks are making strong gains as China's move to remove rebates on the exports of certain products is expected to benefit U.S. producers. The Select Sector Materials SPDR ( XLB) was also up 2.29%. Besides having an exposure to Alcoa and the other steel majors, the ETF also has stakes in Airgas ( ARG), which is up 1.5% after gas and chemical maker Air Products ( APD) sweetened its bid for the company.
With a 25% stake in Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), Pharmaceutical HOLDRS ( PPH) was trading in the negative. Johnson & Johnson is down 1.37% upon news of more product recalls. iShares S&P GlobalHealth ETF ( IXJ), which has an exposure to both Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK) declined in morning trading but recouped some of its loss in the afternoon session. Glaxo is under pressure from the Food and Drug Administration, which is in the process of reviewing the safety of its diabetes pill, Avandia. -- Reported by Shanthi Venkataraman in New York. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
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