Rest in peace James Gandolfini.
The actor most known for his role as Tony Soprano in HBO hit series The Sopranos died Wednesday while vacationing in Italy at the age of 51. While the Emmy Award-winning Gandolfini is likely to be most remembered for his role as the tortured New Jersey mafia boss, his acting accomplishments extend beyond The Sopranos.
A character actor for much of his career before The Sopranos made his a household name, Gandolfini, among other accomplishments, was nominated for a Tony Award in 2009.
Still, Tony Soprano was one of those larger-than-life roles than few actors ever attain, let alone execute in fashion on par with Gandolfini. If Tony Soprano were your broker, he might have you invested in some of the following ETFs.
iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund EWI -2.52% Before we’re accused of some kind of ethnic stereotyping, let’s acknowledge the reality that Tony Soprano was of Italian descent. So is the writer of this piece, 50 percent Italian in fact. All that aside, since Italy is one of the “I’s” in the infamous PIIGS acronym, EWI is usually worth keeping an eye on. Owning it from the long side is usually a different story.
It has gone somewhat unnoticed that yields on Italian 10-year bonds have crept up to 4.26 percent from four percent six weeks ago. However, that is not Italy’s biggest problem. Italy had an unemployment rate of 12 percent in April, not nearly as bad as Spain, but youth unemployment is pushing 37 percent.
That is a dangerously high number and one that could portend civil unrest down the road. At the very least, it dampens EWI’s allure for long-term investors. Continue reading