Concerns over political changes and growth in various countries, dragged down the equities market and stock exchange traded funds today.
The markets typically respond negatively to any uncertainty and the presidential elections in France put investors on edge. After Sunday’s first-round of the presidential election, Socialist candidate François Hollande came out ahead of incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy, reports Sara Sjolin for the Wall Street Journal. The iShares MSCI France Index Fund ETF (NYSEArca: EWQ) was down 2.6% in Monday trading.
Furthermore, on the political front in the Netherlands, the Dutch government called it quits. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet resigned Monday after failing to meet E.U. budget rules over the weekend, prompting speculation that the country may lose its sterling triple A credit rating. The iShares MSCI Netherlands Index Fund ETF (NYSEArca: EWN) fell 2.4% at last check.
Meanwhile, the Eurozone’s manufacturing PMI revealed that business activity contracted at a faster than previously expected pace in April, pulling on European stocks. The Vanguard Europe Pacific ETF (NYSEArca: VEA) was down 2.0%.
Additionally, while China’s industrial activity improved to 49.1 in April from 48.3 in March, the readings remain below 50, signaling contractions in economic activity, according to Reuters. The iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund ETF (NYSEArca: FXI) was 3.0% lower.
The poorer global outlook weighed heavily on U.S. stocks, with the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) down 1.1%.