LONDON -- Stocks are set to end the week on a flat to mildly negative note in Europe Friday, with direction set from the open after a lackluster performance in Asian markets overnight. The second revision of U.K. GDP data showed the slowdown was not as bad as previously thought, with the economy actually falling 0.5% instead of the 0.7% previously believed. Meanwhile attention is turning to the meetings between the Greek prime minister and German Chancellor Merkel today, followed by a meeting with French President Hollande tomorrow, where the progress and hopes for Greece's restructuring will be discussed. Futures trading shows U.S. stocks little changed, with the S&P 500
Even with this weakness, however, there are a number of European companies seeing an even worse performance today. Here are three ADRs the S&P may be able to beat today.
Rio Tinto has slipped more than 3% in London today, coming predominantly on a wider sell-off in mining shares amid concerns of global growth and demand for commodities. Often acting as a proxy for the mining industry as a whole, Rio is also suffering as prices of iron ore, a mineral in which it is heavily weighted, fell below $100 a ton for the first time in three years yesterday; again, on the back of concerns surrounding the global economy and demand for this industrial staple.
The Dutch lender is falling 2.2% today, again amid a broader risk-off attitude in financial shares. This comes as some profit taking hits prices after a decent performance earlier in the week, helped by a series of successful bond auctions by the company that has seen it raise 17 million euros, $60 million, and A$3 million in their respective denominated bonds, all at favourable rates. In addition, the company today announced that Luc Truyens, a 30-year veteran of the company, will be taking over as head of commercial banking operations in Russia.
The U.K. bank at the center of the LIBOR scandal is down more than 2% today, again as part of a wider risk-off attitude that is hitting many financial stocks. The company has announced its intention in the last 24 hours to redeem a series of callable bonds with a total value of more than $513 million. This comes as an act of strength for a company, with the fund necessary to withdraw such bonds early, and also offers it the opportunity to refinance these loans at a more favorable rate if necessary.
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.
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