The S&P Should Beat These Stocks Today

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 (INDEX: ^GSPC) set to open flat.

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 (ISE: RIO.L) (NYS: RIO)
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.

ING Groep (NYS: ING)
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.

Barclays (NYS: BCS)
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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