European ETFs plunge deep in the red as selling takes place across the continent

Mar. 04, 2022 11:30 AM ETVanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK), EZU, EWU, EWGEWI, EWP, EWQ, SAP, SHEL, LVMHF, ENLAY, IBDSFBy: Jason Capul, SA News Editor5 Comments

3D Map of European Union post-Brexit (without UK) with EU blue flag texture and gold stars

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European exchange traded funds dive deep into negative territory as tensions heat up between Russia and Ukraine. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, located in Enerhodar, Ukraine, was attacked by Russian bombing, causing fear to spread across the European marketplace.

The news sent the FTSE 100, German Dax, CAC 40, FTSE MIB, and other European indices southward.

As a direct result, the world's largest European ETF Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEARCA:VGK), with its $20B assets under management and competitor fund iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (BATS:EZU), sank 4.5% and 5.6%.

Both VGK and EZU offer investors exposure to the broad spectrum of European companies across multiple countries. The key difference between the two funds is that VGK provides greater exposure to the UK, whereas EZU offers more exposure to French and German organizations. Moreover, VGK comes with a cheaper 0.12% expense ratio compared to EZU's 0.50%.

Additionally, Friday's sell-off has affected the entire continent from countries like the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. See below a group of country-specific ETFs and a brief breakdown of each:

United Kingdom: The iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF (NYSEARCA:EWU) is -4.2% on the day and -5.3% YTD. Also, the fund has $3.38B AUM and 90 holdings that is led by Shell (NYSE:SHEL).

Germany: The iShares MSCI Germany ETF (NYSEARCA:EWG) is -5.4% on the day and down 21.6% in 2022. Furthermore, the ETF also has $1.97B assets under its belt along with 66 holdings with a top position in SAP SE (NYSE:SAP).

France: The iShares MSCI France ETF (NYSEARCA:EWQ) finds itself -5.5% on Friday and -18.7% YTD. Additionally, EWQ has $740M AUM, 73 holdings, which is led by LVMH Moët Hennessy (OTCPK:LVMHF).

Italy: The iShares MSCI Italy ETF (NYSEARCA:EWI) has suffered the most, down 6.8% today and -20.1% YTD. Moreover, the ETF also has $484M AUM and 32 holdings with a top position in Enel SpA (OTCPK:ENLAY).

Spain: The iShares MSCI Spain ETF (NYSEARCA:EWP) is down 4.3% on Friday and -12.9% in 2022. EWP also comes to market with $495M assets under management and has 24 holdings with a top position in Iberdrola SA (OTCPK:IBDSF).

All five of the above ETFs have expense ratios of 0.50%.

Aside from European ETFs, the euro also fell as low as $1.0886, its lowest level since May 2020, as the Ukraine war ratchets up the risk for the euro area economy.

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