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LONDON -- European equity markets are flat to slightly lower Tuesday, hit from the outset after Japan lowered its assessment of its economy, citing fluctuations in credit markets and weak performance of other countries. Some respite was offered as Spain successfully sold 1.67 billion euros in three-month bills -- with stronger demand and better yields than those seen previously. This did little to support stock prices, however, with attention instead focusing on remarks made by Germany's representative for the European Central Bank, Joerg Asmussen, suggesting the central bank would only intervene in parallel with action from the EU bailout funds and would buy only short-term debt. Early premarket trade has U.S. stocks on a flat to slightly positive note, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) set to open just 0.1% higher.
Even amid this weakness, there are a number of individual names seeing even worse performance. Here are three American depositary receipts the S&P should beat today.
Nokia (NYSE: NOK )
The Finnish handset maker is down more than 6% today, hit by a spurt of profit-taking. Share prices rocketed more than 11% yesterday after a U.S. jury ruled that Samsung had breached a number of patents held by Apple. The news offered hope that Nokia, with its flagging Lumia handsets, will be able to make greater headway into the smartphone market when it launches its latest phone, which uses the Windows 8 operating system, in early September.
ASML Holding (Nasdaq: ASML )
The semiconductor equipment manufacturer is down 2.3% today, also hit by profit-taking. The company had made gains following news that Samsung said it would invest a total of 779 million euros in ASML -- 503 million euros for a 3% stake in the company's Dutch arm, Veldhoven, and a further 276 million euros for research and development of next-generation lithography technologies.
Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN )
Santander is seeing a second day of losses, down 1% as broader concerns surrounding the country's financial sector continue to plague investors despite a successful bond sale this morning. News that the ECB will push for easing on liquidity requirements, allowing some banks to use asset-backed securities and business loans to help buffer against a liquidity crunch, has done little to help the Spanish major Tuesday. The potential impact of possible shutdowns of Spain's smaller, unprofitable lenders still shadows the sector.
As usual, this morning's European trading saw some stocks lose ground -- and perhaps provide some European buying opportunities. Indeed, legendary investor Warren Buffett has recently spent more than $1 billion buying a European large-cap stock that's currently trading well below its 2012 high. If you want to know what Buffett has bought within 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 -- it's available for a limited time only.
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