Nomura Holdings, Inc. (ADR) (NMR), Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (SAN): Has Volatility Shaken Up the Dow?

Stocks in Japan have also been hurt by recent concerns over China’s extended slowdownwhich haven’t done Chinese markets any favors, either. While Hong Kong’s Hang Seng hasn’t fallen so much as the volatile Nikkei recently, Chinese stocks will likely continue to struggle so long as lofty growth projections in China prove unrealistic.

The IMF recently downgraded China’s growth from earlier estimates, and as the country’s trade advantage– which has helped to propel China’s economic rise — rapidly diminishes, Chinese investors could be in for a rough future. Unless American markets experience a drastic shake-up, the Dow likely won’t have much trouble beating the Hang Seng in coming months.

More interesting is the performance of the stock indexes of some of Europe’s most debt-plagued nations. While France’s CAC 40 and Spain’s IBEX 35 haven’t measured up to the Dow and certainly haven’t made investors happily, they’ve held off larger losses and beaten the Asian markets over the recent past.

That doesn’t make either of these nations a safe bet for investors — and especially not Spain, with its skyrocketing unemployment rate and bleak prospects for real economic growth in the near future. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t deals to be found among the best companies in these countries. Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:SAN) has lost more than 11% year to date, but this financial firm has diversified well away from Europe’s fiscal mess and toward developing Latin America, making the bank stock an intriguing emerging-markets play. With a massive 10.8% dividend yield and an optimistic earnings projection for the year, Santander isn’t without appeal for investors. Still, Spain’s risky economic situation makes nearly any stock from the country — even a geographically diversified one — a tough call.

For now, the American recovery makes U.S. stocks a safe option for investors — and it makes the Dow a top index around the world.

The article Has Volatility Shaken Up the Dow? originally appeared on

Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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