The S&P Should Beat These Stocks Today

LONDON -- European stocks are trading mixed again Friday, though they're turning decisively more positive heading into the U.S. open. Support is still found in the comments European Central Bank president Mario Draghi made yesterday, which have been bolstered further after French newspaper Le Monde reported the ECB is preparing to buy Spanish and Italian bonds to help alleviate the record-high yields on the countries' debt. Premarket trade has the U.S. set to open on a positive note, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) up 0.5%.

As always, even within this lackluster market there are a number of companies underperforming. Here are three American depositary receipts the S&P should beat today.

Pearson (NYS: PSO)
The U.K. publisher and owner of the Financial Times is down 3.8% in London today after reporting that operating profit fell to 188 million pounds from 208 million pounds last year. Pearson said changes in funding for teenage apprenticeships caused first-half profits at its professional training business to drop 65%. Despite this, the company reiterated its full-year outlook on both sales growth and operating profit.

Telefonica (NYS: TEF)
The Spanish phone company is down almost 2% today after ratings agency Moody's said that the company's long-term debt credit rating is still under review for downgrade, depending in large part on the outlook for the Spanish sovereign-debt situation as a whole.

This comes after Telefonica suspended its dividend and share buyback scheme earlier this week, expecting to save around 10.2 billion euros in an effort to make headway into the company's 58.3 billion euro net debt.

Unilever (NYS: UL)
The world's second-largest consumer goods maker is down more than 1.1% in London as a bout of profit-taking hits the company's share price. This comes after it climbed 5% yesterday on the back of news that Q2 sales beat analyst estimates, while revenue climbed 5.8%, also beating estimates. Unilever said that in order to counteract slowing growth in developed markets, it introduced new products such as Magnum ice cream bars into faster-growing economies, including China and Pakistan.

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Karl Loomes does not own any share mentioned in this article.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Unilever. 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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