Spain's Unemployment Is Crazy-High

The big macro can cause big moves in the market. What does today's headline macro news mean for your portfolio?

What's happening: Think U.S. unemployment is high? Today Spain's National Statistics Institute said that joblessness in the country rose to 21.5% in the third quarter.

In plain English, please: Though the country has almost continually struggled with high unemployment, the current rate is at a 15-year high. The issues that Spain is facing may highlight the debate over how Europe should best tackle the debt problems in countries such as Spain, Greece, and Italy. The approach thus far has been for the overly indebted countries to impose austerity measures to reduce spending in an effort to reign in budget deficits. However, some economists point to those austerity measures as a further trigger for joblessness and economic contraction. During the third quarter, 40,200 jobs were cut from public administrations in Spain.

Stocks to watch: Obviously, companies based in Spain could feel a pinch from higher unemployment and a softer economy. For U.S. investors, the major stocks to watch would include Telefonica (NYS: TEF) , Banco Santander (NYS: STD) , and Banco Bilbao (NYS: BBVA) . However, other businesses and banks in the region that do significant business in Spain, such as Vodafone (NYS: VOD) , could also be at risk.

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