The Eurozone economy confirmed a slowdown in 2018 so far, having expanded 0.3% sequentially in the second quarter of 2018, falling shy of market expectations and previous quarter’s growth of 0.4% (read: Are Alarm Bells Ringing for These Europe ETFs?).
It marked the weakest growth rate since the second quarter of 2016. GDP grew 2.1% year over year in the second quarter, after 2.5% expansion in the previous quarter and missing market expectations of 2.2% increase.
In the first quarter, the Eurozone economy slowed from 0.7% growth in the preceding three-month period. Annual GDP growth slipped from 2.8% expansion in the previous period (read: What European Slowdown? Here Are 4 ETFs Beating S&P 500).
The feebly-growing economies include Italy (0.2% versus 0.3% in Q1), Spain (0.6% versus 0.7%), Austria (0.7% versus 0.8%) and Latvia (0.8% versus 1.5%), per trading economics. Meanwhile, GDP growth did not budge materially in France (at 0.2%), Belgium (at 0.3%) and Lithuania (at 0.9%). Rising protectionism and trade-related disputes possibly hurt European economies.
Though the mood is somber on a broad-based basis, political crisis in Italy and Spain make the duo more vulnerable to growth risks (read: ETFs to Gain/Lose if Italy Crisis Deepens).
Country ETFs in the Spotlight
iShares MSCI France ETF (EWQ - Free Report)
The underlying MSCI France Index consists of stocks trading primarily on the Paris Stock Exchange. Industrials (21%), Consumer Discretionary (18.85%) and Financials (12.31%) take the top three positions of the fund and have a double-digit weight in the fund. The product charges 49 bps in fees. The fund was down 0.4% on Aug 1. It has advanced about 4% in the past month and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy).
iShares MSCI Belgium ETF (EWK - Free Report)
The underlying MSCI Belgium IMI 25/50 Index looks to measure broad-based equity market performance in Belgium. Consumer Staples (27.56%), Financials (24.99%), Materials (14.42%) and Health Care (10.91%) occupy the top four positions in the fund. The fund shed only 0.10% on Aug 1 and has gained 3.7% in the past month. The fund has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold).
iShares MSCI Italy Capped ETF (EWI - Free Report)
The fund follows the MSCI Italy 25/50 Index measures the equity market performance in Italy. Financials (32.08%), Energy (18.96%), Utilities (14.62%), Consumer Discretionary (14.58%) and Industrials (12.07%) have a double-digit allocation in the fund. The fund lost about 2% on Aug 1 and has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 (Sell). The fund has added about 2% in the past month.
iShares MSCI Spain Capped ETF (EWP - Free Report)
The underlying MSCI Spain 25/50 Index consists of stocks traded primarily on the Madrid Stock Exchange. The Underlying Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization-weighted index with a capping methodology applied to issuer weights. Financials (41.26%), Utilities (17.42%) and Industrials (14.03%) are the top three sectors of the fund. The fund charges 49 bps in fees. The fund lost about 0.9% on Aug 1 but has gained about 3.4% in the past month. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold).
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