ETF Spotlight: iShares MSCI Italy

| About: iShares MSCI (EWI)

ETF Spotlight on iShares MSCI Italy (NYSEArca: EWI), part of an ongoing series. The Italy exchange traded fund dropped more than 4% in early trading Friday as Eurozone debt fears rattled bank stocks in the region.

Assets: $135.1 million.

Objective: The iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund tries to reflect the performance of the MSCI Italy Index, which holds publicly traded securities in the Italian market.

Holdings: Top holdings include: ENI SPA 18.04%, ENEL SPA 12.51%, Unicredit SPA 9.17%, Intesa Sanpaolo 5.63% and Assicurazioni Generali 4.75%.

What You Should Know:

  • EWI has an expense ratio of 0.54%.
  • The fund has 32 holdings.
  • Sector allocations include: Financials 28.61%, Energy 26.01%, Utilities 20.24%, Industrials 9.41%, Consumer Discretionary 6.79%, Telecom Services 4.87%, Consumer Staples 2.35%, S-T Securities 0.01% and other 1.70%.

The Latest News:

  • European banks were under pressure Friday and UniCredit shares were temporarily halted after a rapid decline on worries over Italy’s sovereign debt risks, according to reports.
  • The spread between the 10-year Italian/German yield hit a euro-era high of 225 basis points earlier, with yields on 10-year Italian notes nearing 5.2%, a high last seen in 2008, reports Kirsten Donovan for Reuters.
  • Gary Jenkins, head of fixed income at Evolution Securities, calculates that if yields stay at current levels, Italy’s annual debt services costs would jump 9.7 billion euros ($13.6 billion), or 0.65% of GDP, by 2015.
  • After the recent emergency budget meeting, the Italy’s cabinet approved deficit-reducing measures of $55 billion, according to The Economist. Italy’s public debt may hit 120% of GDP this year.
  • “Without balancing the books there can be no industrial production, only disaster,” said Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti at a Coldiretti meeting, according to AGI. “The problem is not whether or not this country is politically successful, but whether or not its population can survive.”
  • In the first quarter, Italy’s economy grew 0.1%, reports Giada Zampano for The Wall Street Journal.

iShares MSCI Italy - (click chart to expand)

Max Chen contributed to this article.