LONDON -- Markets have been weaker throughout Europe this morning, paring yesterday's gains as weaker-than-expected European confidence data added to fears surrounding the outcome of today's EU summit. So far the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) is set to follow suit, with premarket trade having the index down 0.5%.
Despite these losses, there are a number of European stocks making some headway today, so here are three ADRs that may be on track to beat the S&P.
Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO ) has been leading gains on OMX Copenhagen this morning, seeing some of the best performance across the continent after U.S. authorities approved Arena Pharmaceuticals' weight-loss pill Lorcaserin yesterday. The decision makes Lorcaserin the first weight-loss medication approved for U.S. sale in 13 years.
The Danish developer of obesity drugs climbed more than 3.5% in European trade, although this slipped a little as the morning went on. Novo Nordisk now sees opportunities in the U.S. for its diabetes drug, Victoza, which it is currently testing as an aid against obesity.
The French water utility company Veolia Environnement (NYSE: VE ) has also been making strong gains in Europe this morning after it announced it will be selling a U.K. unit to an Infracapital Partners-Morgan Stanley joint venture for 1.2 billion pounds. At one point Veolia shares traded almost 4% higher in Paris, although this steadied out after an initial burst to hold nearer to 2% gains.
The move comes as part of a broader effort by the company to reduce its debt to 3 billion euros by the end of next year, a goal CEO Antoine Frerot announced last month.
AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN ) , the U.K. pharmaceutical major, has been bucking the trend in London, making steady gains after it said it will postpone its option to buy out Merck's interest in heartburn treatments Nexium and Prilosec until 2014, after agreeing the U.S. company's stake is worth $327 million.
This comes after the CEO of rival firm GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK ) , Andrew Witty, said yesterday that his company is having difficulty generating European sales, with added price pressure over the past three to four months making short-term trading more difficult.
Despite the ongoing eurozone troubles, this morning's European trading did provide some winners -- and perhaps some European buying opportunities. Indeed, legendary investor Warren Buffett has recently spent more than $1 billion buying the stock of a prominent European large cap. If you want to know why Mr. Buffett has bought into Europe, this special Motley Fool report -- "The One UK Share That Warren Buffett Loves" -- reveals everything, including the price he paid. You can download the report today for free. But hurry -- the report is available for a limited time only.
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