LONDON -- European equity markets are seeing further weakness today, hit by a raft of weak economic data from Asia and the continent. Germany reported an increase in unemployment for the fifth consecutive month, while Japan posted a worse-than-expected fall in retail sales and manufacturer confidence in South Korea held at the lowest level in three years. Some hope was offered after Italy successfully sold 7.3 billion euros in 10-year bonds -- near the upper half of the planned range with a yield of 5.82% and below the unsustainable level. Futures trading has the U.S. markets set for a similar performance today, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) looking to open 0.4% lower.
As always, there are still a number of firms managing to put in a strong performance. Here are three American depositary receipts that are set to beat the S&P today.
ING Groep (NYSE: ING )
The Dutch lender is up almost 4% today after the Bank of Nova Scotia agreed to buy the company's Canadian online unit for CA$3.16 billion. Hopes are that these funds will help pay off ING's state aid from the 2008 bailout, with the company saying the sale should end up a 1.1 billion euro gain after tax and allow it to free up a further 1.4 billion euros in capital.
Nokia (NYSE: NOK )
The handset maker is pushing higher Thursday, with yesterday's profit-taking offering the stock a consolidation that has now allowed it to gain traction once again. This comes as industry experts eagerly await the company's release next week of its latest smartphone, which will use Windows 8, the latest operating system from Microsoft. In the background, hopes that Samsung's patent infringements will lead to a number of recalls of its phones in the U.S. have been underpinning support in Nokia, which could benefit if its rival loses ground.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE: RBS )
The U.K. state-owned lender is up 1.5% today after the Bank of England said that U.K. mortgage approvals rose in July from an 18-month low in June. This offers lenders such as RBS some light at the end of the tunnel as the ongoing liquidity troubles and lack of borrowing cause many investors to worry.
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 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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