Why I snapped up this FTSE 100 faller last week

Everyone loves to find a bargain, right? That was me, rifling through the FTSE 100 fallers last week and finding a gem.

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Last week was not exactly a great one for any stock market, including the FTSE 100. The popular Footsie share index fell by over 2%, leaving it about on par with where it had been trading a year ago.

But that fall hides the fact that some shares lost a lot more than others, some for good reasons. But often these days I’ve found that share prices can tend to overreact to any news.

That’s largely because markets are short-term-focused in nature — and that can create buying opportunities for a long-term investor like me.

Looking beyond today’s news

So last week, when I saw one of the highest-dividend shares of the FTSE 100, Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO), trade down over 10%, I knew I had to figure out if it was a short-term problem or long-term opportunity.

What was driving the change — and did I think it was reasonable? Was it perhaps finally a long-term buying opportunity?

Why did Rio fall more than the FTSE 100?

Rio Tinto may be a global mining giant but it has a fairly concentrated risk exposure, with about 60% of its earnings currently derived from iron ore.

Other FTSE 100 constituents have far less exposure to this particular market. So when iron ore prices fell sharply last week, mining shares including Rio Tinto, fell in line with the sell-off, while other shares were unaffected.

Digging into the story further reveals that Chinese demand is the key driver behind iron ore prices, as it’s the biggest buyer, accounting for about 70% of the market.

So markets were correctly reacting to China’s decreasing steel mill production figures, combined with concerns that its strict policies on Covid will continue to dampen demand.

Taking the long-term view on Rio Tinto

However, when I looked at the same information from a long-term perspective, that’s when I saw my opportunity.

I believe that eventually China will figure out a way to live with Covid, like the rest of the world is slowly doing. Plus, commodity markets tend to be highly cyclical — meaning that what goes up will come down and vice-versa.

I’d never buy an oil company when oil prices are at record highs. But buying a high-quality mining company when its core product falls in price — that makes sense to me as a long-term investment.

That’s especially the case for one with a great track record of rewarding its investors with a healthy dividend rate. At a yield of over 12% at time of writing, it’s the highest-paying dividend share in the FTSE 100.

A bumpy ride ahead?

Mining shares are known for being volatile. That means I’m not expecting a smooth ride while owning my new Rio Tinto shares.

For starters, I will not be surprised if that dividend is cut as revenues fall. But even if halved, that still beats the Footsie’s average of around 4%.

Plus, I like the strategy I can see unfolding at Rio with it developing new markets for its other products. That’s going to help decrease its reliance on iron ore prices and China over time and diversify my risk.

I may have to wait, of course. But over the long-term, I think it should prove a great addition to my diversified portfolio. That’s why I bought this FTSE 100 faller last week.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Michelle Freeman owns shares in Rio Tinto Plc. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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