3 Stocks Set to Beat the S&P Today

LONDON -- European stocks are mixed to slightly positive Thursday, for the most part lacking any conviction following this week's severe losses. A raft of earnings results have given the markets cause to edge in both directions, while the concerns over the eurozone crisis and the downbeat economic numbers seen this week are never far from sight. Early premarket trade has the U.S. playing a more negative tune, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) set to open 0.4% lower.

Even in this lackluster market, there are some individual names managing to outperform. Here are three American depositary receipts that are set to beat the S&P today.

Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK  )
The U.K. specialized publisher and owner of LexisNexis is up almost 5% in London after it reported strong first-half results, including revenue gains of 5% to 3.05 billion pounds and an operating profit increase of 9% to 845 million pounds. Both numbers beat analyst estimates.

CEO Erik Engstrom also confirmed that Reed does not plan on breaking up its business, despite suggestions by some analysts that it would increase the company's value. Engstrom said that after consulting shareholders over the past few months, there is simply no call for it.

Nokia (NYSE: NOK  )
The Finnish handset maker is up 4.6% today amid talk that it will scrap a software project that was designed to rival Google Android phones. This comes as part of the troubled company's cost-cutting efforts and offers warning signs that it may struggle further to compete with the likes of Apple in the smartphone market.

Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN  )
The Spanish major is up more than 4.2% today, helped by a broader rebound in high-beta stocks despite reporting second-quarter profits plummeting 93%; net income fell to 100 million euros from 1.39 billion euros last year. The gains come predominantly on the back of the company's efforts to clean up its loan book, speeding up its efforts to recognize loan losses and setting aside 2.78 billion euros to cover losses on its property assets in Q2.

In addition, the company's CEO, Alfredo Saenz, said that he would consider cutting executive pay in order to help reduce costs, suggesting that Santander would follow a line of moderation and reduction.

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 European Share 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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Karl Loomes does not own any share mentioned in this article.The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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