UK Stocks Hit New Low

Hammered by weakness in the banking sector and a rapidly falling currency, UK stocks hit a new low on Friday.

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The $500 million MSCI United Kingdom Index Fund (EWU) traded as low as $10.09 on Friday before closing at $10.43.  The previous low was on November 20, 2008 when the exchange traded fund closed at a dividend-adjusted $10.27.

Last week was especially harsh for UK banks despite the government’s intervention into the market.  According to Reuters, the chairman of the British parliament’s Treasury Committee urged the government to nationalise RBS and Lloyds as the global financial crisis deepens.

Barclays fell 13.5% on Friday on concerns that the bank may require further capital or be nationalised according to another Reuters report.

On top of concerns over nationalisation, the pound is trading near a 23 year low against the dollar at $1.30, down from over $2.00 last summer.

Top holdings for EWU include energy giants BPRoyal Dutch Shell and BG Group.  Other top sector holdings include financials (HSBC), telecom (Vodafone Group), Health Care (Glaxosmithkline, AstraZeneca) and consumer staples (British American Tobacco, Tesco, Diageo).

For more, see the ETF Directory for a complete listing of Country ETFs.