LONDON -- European equity markets are rallying on all fronts Friday, ending the week on a high note following the announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve yesterday that it would be undertake a third round of asset purchases -- the famed QE3 -- in order to stimulate the economy. Chairman Ben Bernanke gave an open-ended commitment to inject $40 billion a month into the system -- a strong and decisive move that the markets have taken well. U.S. futures trading is showing a similar pattern to European equities, with the S&P 500 (^GSPC 3.06%) set to open 0.5% higher.
With these gains, U.S. markets are set to outstrip a number of European firms that are seeing a less-than-stellar performance. Here are three American depositary receipts the S&P should beat today.
Fresenius Medical Care (FMS 4.43%)
The German manufacturer of kidney dialysis equipment is down 2.7% today, hit after it emerged that the company failed to warn of the dangers posed by its Naturalyte GranuFlo and Liquid Acid Concentrate products. This follows a recent FDA recall of the two products, saying they may lead to a high level of serum bicarbonate in patients undergoing hymodialysis. The FDA said the U.S. arm of Fresenius first discovered this problem in November 2011 after conducting its own research but failed to warn patients about the possible risks.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK 1.52%)
The pharmaceutical giant is down 1.7% today after a study in the U.S. found that a whooping-cough vaccine sold by the company becomes less effective over time. The New England Journal of Medicine said that the vaccine, thought to fully inoculate a child, became less effective as subsequent doses were given each year: Children have a 42% increased risk of contracting whooping cough after receiving their fifth dose. Sanofi (SNY 2.37%) also distributes the drug in the U.S., although its shares are up around 0.8%.
BT Group (BT)
The British telecom giant is down 1.2% today, suffering predominantly on the back of short-term profit-taking following a week of steady gains. This came after Credit Suisse said in a report earlier this week that BT, the U.K. largest provider of fixed-line phones, will benefit from accelerating demand for broadband in the country. The report said that as the European Union adopts "a more positive stance" with regard to regulation, BT should reap the benefit, raising its price estimate from 2.50 pounds per share to 3 pounds.
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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