LONDON -- European equity markets are lower Thursday, with investors cautious ahead of today's U.S. Federal Reserve announcement on further stimulus measures. In Europe, money has been flowing away from riskier assets and into perceived safe havens, with German bund yields hitting new lows and defensive stocks gaining ground. Futures trading has the U.S. markets seeing somewhat more muted weakness today, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) down less than 0.2%.
As always, even in this troubled market it is possible to find some stocks that are floating to the top. Here are three American depositary receipts that are set to beat the S&P today.
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU )
The telecommunications equipment manufacturer is up almost 2% today, pushed predominately by a move to large names and perceived safe havens ahead of the Fed announcement. This week Alcatel announced it was appointing chief financial officer Paul Tufano to the newly created role of chief operating officer, giving him extra responsibilities in the company's turnaround plan. In addition to his CFO, role Tufano will now have responsibility for the global supply chain and procurement.
Vodafone (Nasdaq: VOD ) (LSE: VOD.L )
The mobile-phone giant is up 1.5% Thursday, again seeing strong demand because of its defensive nature and some dip-buying following the stock's declines yesterday. News emerged this week that Vodafone investors who are waiting to receive a dividend from the company's U.S. joint venture, Verizon Communications, are likely to have to wait until at least December. In turn, this is likely to hit Vodafone's dividend itself, which most analysts see as unsustainable without cash from its stake in Verizon.
Prudential (NYSE: PUK )
The insurer is also up 1.5% in London today, again seeing demand build while investors see big names as safe havens. The company also announced today that its Malaysian arm will be offering a new medical rider that will allow for claiming the cost of visiting medical clinics on personal insurance. The claim is only possible for those who already have Prudential's life insurance policy, and only when visiting one of 2,200 general practitioners signed up with Prudential Malaysia.
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.
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