Exchange traded funds indexed to broad European stock benchmarks suffered losses of nearly 10% in Monday’s global sell-off after the U.S. credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s.
Single-country ETFs in Europe following Italy, Spain and other nations have been rattled by the debt crisis. [Italy, Spain ETFs Fall Over 15% in One Month.]
The European Central Bank has provided support to bond markets in an effort to protect Spain and Italy. According to The New York Times, leading finance ministers are urgently trying to restore confidence in the markets to stem the stock sell-off.
“When Italy showed signs of significant weakness selling its bonds… it created a massive problem within Europe because Italy is a very large country that…indeed cannot be bailed out,” former Federal reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said on Reuters. “And that’s what’s causing our problem.”
The health of Europe’s economy will take a toll on the U.S. economy, because about a quarter of U.S exports are sold to Europe and the region houses the operations of many American companies, reports Reuters.