3 Stocks Set to Beat the S&P Today

LONDON -- Equity markets are attempting to end the week on a slight positive note Friday as weak Chinese GDP data overnight adds to speculation that the country will need to implement growth stimulus measures. Gains are somewhat tempered, however, after ratings agency Moody's downgraded Italian debt two notches to "Baa2," noting slow growth and contagion risk from Greece and Spain. But early premarket trade has U.S. markets dancing to a more upbeat tune, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) set to open 0.4% higher.

Even with these gains, there are some individual names that are outperforming. Here are three American depository receipts that are set to beat the S&P today.

France Telecom (NYS: FTE)
France Telecom's share price is climbing more than 3.3% in Paris today, boosted after the company won a joint court case with Vodafone (NAS: VOD) when an EU court ruled the two companies should be able to claim money from Spain. A tax that local authorities in the country placed on phone operators using infrastructure such as cell towers was deemed illegal. Vodafone shares are up just 0.7% in London.

Bank of Ireland (NYS: IRE)
This high-beta stock is seeing significant gains today, up 3.3% after the Irish government said that after completing the seventh review of its international program with bailout partners, it believes its rescue programme is on track.

The country's finance minister Michael Noonan once again reiterated that the true test of the success of the program will be when the country returns to the open market at reasonable yield rates -- a move that looks more likely after the National Treasury Management Agency successfully auctioned a three-month T-Bill with strong international demand.

Randgold Resources (NAS: GOLD)
Hopes that China will begin economic stimulus measures following its disappointing growth numbers overnight are helping the commodity complex as a whole today, while mild weakness in the U.S. dollar is allowing the traditional safe haven of gold to follow suit, despite a broader risk-on attitude in the market.

This strong performance in the yellow metal has pushed Randgold's share price 2% higher in London, helping it outperform most of the major miners listed on the FTSE 100.

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 Mr. 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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At the time thisarticle was published Karl Loomes does not own any share mentioned in this article.The Motley Fool owns shares of France Telecom and Bank of Ireland. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of France Telecom. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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