NEW YORK Jan 31 (Reuters) - U.S.-listed shares of foreign companies were modestly lower on Thursday as investors took profits following recent gains.
The BNY Mellon index of leading American depositary receipts is up 4 percent so far this year, lifted by a strong start to the earnings season and signs of improved global growth. With the index hovering around levels not seen since July 2011, some investors may take profits at current prices. The index fell 0.3 percent on Thursday, as did the S&P 500 .
Earnings continued to be a major focus for investors, and European shares closed 0.2 percent lower after a weak outlook from drugmaker AstraZeneca.
Shares of AstraZeneca dropped 2.8 percent to $48.41 after the firm's chief executive said earnings and revenue would fall sharply in 2012 as patents expired and operating costs rose.
The stock was one of the most active European ADRs, and weighed on the BNY Mellon index of leading European ADRs , which fell 0.5 percent.
The BNY Mellon index of leading Asian ADRs was flat as investors took profits from recent gains. The index is up more than 2 percent so far this month, while Hong Kong shares slipped from 21-month highs.
The BNY Mellon index of leading Latin American ADRs dropped 0.3 percent, weighed down by a 2 percent drop in Petrobras to $18.20.
Among the most active ADRs, Research in Motion tumbled 7 percent to $12.82 as at least three analysts downgraded the stock a day after the company unveiled a long-delayed line of BlackBerry smartphones.