The S&P Should Beat These Stocks Today


LONDON -- Stocks are seeing further weakness in Europe today, hit by a slew of weak data from Asia and Germany. The largest EU economy reported an increase in unemployment for the fifth consecutive month, while Japan posted a worse-than-expected fall in retail sales, and manufacturer confidence in South Korea held at the lowest level in three years. Some hope was offered after Italy successfully sold 7.3 billion euros in 10-year bonds with a yield of 5.82% -- below the unsustainable level. Futures trading has the U.S. markets set for a similar performance today, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) looking to open 0.4% lower.

Despite this weakness, there are some individual names putting in an even worse performance. Here are three American depositary receipts the S&P should beat today.

BHP Billiton (NYS: BBL)
The mining giant is down 2.4% today, hit amid a broad sell-off in resource stocks after news emerged that copper consumption in China, the world's biggest user, is expected to expand this year at the slowest pace since1997. This not only puts pressure on copper producers but increases fears that broader commodity and mineral demand from the Asia giant will also lapse.

Banco Santander (NYS: SAN)
The largest Spanish bank is suffering again today, down almost 2% as a broader risk-off attitude hits the country's banking sector. Concerns that smaller, unprofitable lenders may be shut down under the new terms of Spain's banking bailout keep pressure on the sector, despite the fact that Santander itself will not be closed. Earlier this week, analysts at Morgan Stanley said that an increase in the bank's U.K. unit's mortgage rates could see profit for Santander U.K. climb 12% in 2013.

ArcelorMittal (NYS: MT)
Amid the broader weakness in commodity and resource stocks today, Arcelor is down 1.7% after the China Metallurgical Mining Enterprise Association said China's iron ore output fell by around 10% this month. The organization said this was due to falling prices squeezing out costly producers, while steelmakers were able to use cheaper imports. This now brings about potential further increases in the price of iron ore, the key ingredient for steelmakers like Arcelor, increasing the company's cost base and reducing profit.

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. If you want to know what Buffett has bought within 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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Karl Loomes does not own any share mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of ArcelorMittal. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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