This Week’s 10% Drop Makes Barclays PLC A Buy

In a week like this one, few stocks escape unscathed. The crisis may have started in China but it swept through the FTSE 100, and the big banks were hardly likely to be immune. At time of writing, Barclays (LSE: BARC) is down 10% from this year’s starting price of just under 205p.


So what has Barclays done to deserve this? For once, it isn’t the architect of its own downfall. There has been no mis-selling or rate-rigging scandal ALL WEEK! That should be cause for celebration, but events on the other side of the world have conspired against it. This is an important point, because precious little has changed about Barclays over recent turbulent days. It is still the same company it was at the end of 2015. The only material thing that has changed is that you can buy its shares at a 10% discount to Monday.

The lower share price has left it trading at 11.9 times earnings, a slightly more tempting price than before. Wise investors take advantage of opportunities like these. It is why so many of us actually prefer to go shopping when share prices fall, rather than cringing and running for cover.

Not only are Barclays’ shares cheaper, but its yield is higher. It now yields nearly 3.2%, up from 2.90% just a few days ago (if only savings rates had risen that fast). The big bad bank has taken a long time to claw its way back to dividend respectability, but on a forecast yield of 4%, it is now well on course to achieve that.

No News Is Good News

There is little new to say about Barclays this week, aside from the fact that it is 10% cheaper. Did I mention that? There is talk of further cost-cutting, mostly affecting its cash-equities and investment banking divisions in Asia. The decision to focus on the profitable markets of the US, UK and South Africa sounds sensible, although hardly a market mover.

There has also been talk that the UK could hold its Brexit referendum as early as June, and some fear a vote to quit the EU would sink the financial services industry. It is a worry, although hardly specific to Barclays. This week, Mark Astaire, a senior investment banker at Barclays, look to soothe nerves by claiming the City of London would remain Europe’s top banking sector in 10 years’ time, whatever happens.

Worse to come?

Now just because Barclays is 10% cheaper doesn’t mean it won’t fall further. It fell 10% last year, and in 2014 as well, for that matter. It remains a business on the back foot and further cutbacks are expected, notably in its floundering investment banking division. Remember, its last set of results for Q3, published in October, showed adjusted profit before tax falling 10% to £1.43bn.

2016 is clearly going to be a volatile year, hitting companies both good and bad. But Barclays is still 10% cheaper than a week ago, and that makes it a 10% better buy than it was.

Scooping up top companies in falling markets is just one way to get rich from stocks and shares, there are plenty of other strategies out there.

This FREE Motley Fool report 10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market sets out how investing in stocks and shares over the long-term can make you rich.

You don't have to be a share picking genius either, ordinary people can become astonishingly wealthy by investing in stocks and shares.

This no-obligation report shows you how to do it, step-by-step. To find out more, click here now.

Harvey Jones has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.