ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Unemployment in the United States shot up to 10.2%. It’s not only the highest rate in 26 years, but it’s the first time unemployment has topped 10% in as much time. Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are trading in a narrow range as a result of the news.

The 10.2% unemployment figure is far worse than what economists had expected, and they don’t see any sign of relief until next year. While the pace of layoffs has slowed, the unemployment rate is continuing to climb, reports Javier C. Hernandez for The New York Times.

Unemployment isn’t just as issue here, either; millions around the world don’t expect to see relief in the form of jobs anytime soon. The European Union forecast unemployment in the eurozone to rise to 10.7% in 2010, up from 9.5% this year. Unemployment ranges from 3.5% in the Netherlands to 18.3% in Spain, reports Greg Keller for the Associated Press. In China, the official urban unemployment rate is 4.3% in the third quarter. Brazil’s unemployment was 8.1% in August, almost unchanged from the previous month.

Gold futures have soared to a record $1,100 an ounce today. While some profit-taking briefly sent gold lower, it resumed its course and analysts expect it to continue to move higher, reports Allen Sykora for The Wall Street Journal. SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) is up about 0.4% year-to-date. (More on gold can be found here).

Businesses slashed inventories for a record 13th straight month in September, although sales rose for the sixth consecutive time. Many hope that improving sales figures will encourage businesses to start lifting production, although a rising jobless rate heightens fears that consumers won’t start spending anytime soon, reports Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press. (An ETF to play holiday shopping).

The world’s largest insurer, AIG (NYSE: AIG) reported that it was profitable for the second consecutive quarter. Although things have stabilized, the company’s CEO said that earnings will remain choppy while they restructure.  SPDR KBW Insurance (NYSEArca: KIE) is up about 0.6% this morning.

G20 Finance Ministers are meeting this week to discuss financial reform and economic recovery. While these economies have put in place certain policies in order to push along a recovery, they’re not policies anyone wants to keep in place forever. The general consensus is that it’s too soon to reverse the measures, but it’s not too soon to begin talking about when and how it would happen. Government debt in developed G20 countries is likely to reach 118% of annual national income in 2014, reports Andrew Walker for the BBC.

For more stories on the global economy, visit our global ETF page.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.