NEW YORK Feb 6 U.S.-listed shares of foreign companies fell on Wednesday, as investors continued to worry about political tensions in Europe.
While global stocks have been strong performers recently, they slumped earlier this week on signs the euro zone's debt crisis may return to the forefront.
On Wednesday, France and Germany showed signs of disagreement over the euro exchange rate, whose recent strength threatens corporate profits and a nascent economic recovery in the region.
France said it would raise concerns about the euro at a finance ministers' meeting next Monday, but expectations of any action cooled after the spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the currency is not overvalued.
The apparent disagreement added to concerns about the region's stability, following uncertainty over the outcome of elections in Italy and a corruption scandal in Spain.
The BNY Mellon index of leading European ADRs fell 0.3 percent, outpacing the 0.2 percent drop in the broader BNY Mellon index of leading American depositary receipts, which was down 0.2 percent. The S&P 500 was flat, rising less than 0.1 percent.
European banks were among the hardest hit by concerns over instability in the region. Deutsche Bank fell 1.5 percent to $50.38 while Governor and Company of The Bank of Ireland was off 1.7 percent at $8.34.
The BNY Mellon index of leading Asian ADRs gained 0.3 percent. Shares in Hong Kong rose 0.5 percent, lifted by defensive shares in a sign that investors remain cautious after a recent drop to a one-month low.
Asian shares were also lifted by strength in solar power companies following a bullish note from Citigroup, which started several firms in the group with a "buy" rating. ReneSola rose 1.9 percent to $2.15 while Yingli Green Energy rose 1.9 percent to $3.23.
The BNY Mellon index of leading Latin American ADRs lost 0.5 percent, weighed down by a 1 percent drop in Petrobras to $16.42.
Among the most active ADRs, Irish drugmaker Elan sank 8.7 percent to $9.55 after the company said it would raise more than $3.25 billion by selling its interests in Biogen Idec and spend that money on acquisitions.
Canada's Suncor Energy Inc fell 5.6 percent to $32.61 after the company swung to a fourth-quarter loss.