Stocks are on the anemic side this morning, as the MSCI World Index dropped the most on major concerns, taking the euro down with it. Can related exchange traded funds(ETFs) spread this risk out for investors holding them?

A surprise increase in jobless claims and concerns about Europe’s debt have taken the MSCI World Index, an index of 23 countries,  down to its lowest level in four months. The euro sank 0.8 % to $1.3781 against the dollar, the lowest since June 16, report Rita Nazareth and Gavin Serkin for Bloomberg. iShares MSCI ACWI Index (NASDAQ: ACWI) is down 3% so far today.

Retreating shares in the MSCI World outnumbered rising stocks by almost six to one, while only 20 companies in the S&P 500 advanced and all but one in the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank.

Edward Krudy for Reuters reports that the number of Americans claiming jobless benefits rose unexpectedly and renewed fears of sovereign debt problems in Europe led investors to dump riskier assets. The dollar rose against the euro, as it slid to seven months lows on sovereign debt worries in Greece. CurrencyShares Euro Trust (NYSEArca: FXE) is down 1% this morning. [Our Currency ETF Special Report.]

Retailers received a pleasant surprise in January as shoppers bought a little more clothing at mall stores, delivering solid gains for many. Is this the uptick that many are looking for as proof of a recovery in consumer spending?