Bleak Jobs, Manufacturing Data Knock Europe ETFs

ETF Trends

The Eurozone was hit with a double whammy Wednesday as both employment and manufacturing data worsened, dragging on European stocks and exchange traded funds. The sell-off in ETFs tracking Spain and Italy was a reminder that Europe’s debt crisis refuses to go away.

The iShares S&P Europe 350 Index Fund ETF (IEV - News) and Vanguard European ETF (VGK - News) were both 1.3% lower Wednesday.

Europe’s jobless rate hit 10.9% in March from 10.8% in February, the highest level since April 1997, reports Fergal O’Brien for Bloomberg. The unemployment rate increased 169,000 from February to 17.4 million.

In the EU, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 10.2% in March, with Spain showing the highest joblessness at 24.1%, followed by Greece at 21.7%. In comparison, Austria and the Netherlands were at 4% and 5%, respectively.

Furthermore, the Markit’s Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index dipped to 45.9 from 47.7 in March, the lowest since June 2009, reports Jonathan Cable for Reuters.

“Manufacturing in the euro zone took a further lurch deeper into a new recession in April,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at data compiler Markit, said in the Reuters article.

Following the poor jobs and manufacturing data, Spanish and Italian debt insurance costs rose, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Spain has already been struggling after falling into recession in the first quarter and receiving downgrades on several of its banks. [Spain ETF Falls on Recession, Bank Downgrades]

The iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (EWP - News) was down 3.9% Wednesday and the iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund ETF (EWI - News) was 3.4% lower.

Vanguard European ETF

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VGK_ETF

For more information on Europe, visit our Europe category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

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