Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) have opened lower this morning as investors remain unsettled about the financial strength of Europe. Even a jump in existing home sales wasn’t enough to turn things around.
Existing home sales rose 6.8% in March to an annual rate of 5.35 million, up from 5.01 million in February. Because existing home sales are based on closings, an increase in April may be forthcoming as the end of the month was also the deadline for a tax-credit for first-time home buyers, and 44% of the gains in March home sales were first-time buyers. [Real Estate ETFs: Risks Still Abound.]
- SPDR S&P Homebuilders (NYSEArca: XHB)
The drop in U. S stocks Monday morning comes even as major European indexes recovered most of the early declines there to start the week. Investors remain jittery about the continent’s financial stability, with worries further fueled by Spain’s bailout out of regional bank, Cajasur, over the weekend followed a failure by the bank to complete a merger deal. The decline Monday follows a week that saw most major U. S. indexes post their biggest loss of the year on Thursday, only to recover on Friday. [What’s in That ETF You’re Buying?]
- iShares MSCI Spain Index (NYSEArca: EWP)
The euro continued its bumpy ride, sliding to $1.2365 after a week that saw it hit a four-year low. The currency continues to be a barometer for investors’ confidence in Europe’s economy as uncertainty over mounting debt and severe budget cuts threaten to undermine an already fragile global economic recovery. [The Euro ETF Slide: How Low Can it Go?]
- CurrencyShares Euro Trust (NYSEArca: FXE)
Britain’s new finance minister announced an outline Monday for nearly $9 billion in spending cuts, in the hopes of convincing financial markets and investors that the country is committed to high levels of public outlays. The move is in opposition to the previous party’s approach, but the new Prime Minister and his team believe that not only will they avoid an extension of the recession, but that by showing the world they can live within their means, they will find their way more quickly through these tough financial times. [UK ETF: New British Leader, New Leaf Turned?]
- CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling (NYSEArca: FXB)
Read the disclaimer; Tom Lydon is a board member of Rydex|SGI.
Aaron Hurst contributed to this article
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