The easyJet (LSE: EZJ) share price has continued tanking. But I’m not prepared to go dip buying for the troubled FTSE airline stock today.
Over the long term, easyJet could deliver excellent investor returns as the budget airline segment keeps growing. But the business faces a multitude of problems that could crimp profitability beyond just the near term.
Staff shortages are a big problem across the airline industry. And late last month, easyJet slashed its capacity forecasts on the back of this. Things could get even worse if unions representing staff at three Spanish airports call for wider industrial action.
I’m also worried about how the cost-of-living crisis will dent demand for its tickets and how long pressure on consumer spending will persist. In June, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) warned that current high inflation threatens to become “entrenched”.
Finally, a backcloth of soaring jet fuel costs poses a big threat to easyJet’s ultra-thin margins. Latest Platts data showed fuel prices up 9.3% month-on-month as of 24 June. The ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe threatens to keep driving them higher too.
At 411p per share, easyJet’s share price commands an astronomical forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 177 times. This sort of valuation seems at odds with the company’s elevated risk profile.
A better FTSE dip buy?
Barclays’ (LSE: BARC) share price has also weakened significantly over the past year. But this is where the similarities end. On paper, the FTSE stock commands a much more attractive valuation for possible investors.
At 160p per share, Barclays trades on a forward P/E ratio of just 5.5 times. On top of this the bank, unlike easyJet, offers a sizeable dividend yield. This sits at 4.8% for 2022.
Company news from Barclays has been far more encouraging than what’s been coming out of easyJet of late. To be more specific, in late June, it acquired specialist mortgage provider Kensington Mortgages for a cool £2.3bn.
The deal puts the bank in a better position to exploit the strong UK housing market and take on market leader Lloyds. Kensington’s loan book stood at a sizeable £2bn as of last December.
This is good news. But it isn’t enough to encourage me to buy Barclays shares today. They’re cheap, sure, but the stock’s low valuation reflects the state of Britain’s ailing economy. It’s a picture that threatens a slump in bank revenues and a tsunami of loan impairments.
This week, KPMG predicted that “growth [will] more than halve this year before slowing further in 2023”. The accounting firm warned too of a “significant” chance of mild recession due to external economic dangers and falling consumer spending due to high inflation.
I have serious concerns about Barclays over the long term too. More specifically, I worry about how the business will fare as challenger banks nibble away at its customer base. So I’ll ignore both Barclays and easyJet and look for better FTSE shares to buy this month.