Should You Buy Last Week’s Losers AstraZeneca plc (-8%) & Prudential plc (-10%)?

Today I am looking at the investment case for two recent London losers.

The prescription for pukka returns

Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) was forced firmly onto the back foot last week following the release of disappointing full-year results. The stock shed almost a tenth of its value between last Monday and Friday but, rather than battening down the hatches, I view this weakness as a prime buying opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong: things are likely to remain a little bumpy looking ahead as the enduring problem of patent expirations weigh. Indeed, AstraZeneca advised that is expects revenues to suffer a “low to mid single-digit percentage decline” in 2016 as blockbuster labels like Crestor face further pressure from generic brands.

Consequently the City expects AstraZeneca to chalk up a fifth successive earnings decline in 2016, this time by a chunky 10%. Still, I believe AstraZeneca remains a compelling stock selection for the years ahead.

The firm has doubled-down on R&D investment to turbocharge its drugs pipeline, resulting in six regulatory sign-offs last year, with the potential for another six in 2016. And the London firm is pulling up strips in lucrative emerging markets, too, helped by rising wealth levels and ballooning population growth. Total sales in these regions surged 12% in 2015, with demand for its diabetes treatments alone galloping 76% during the period.

I reckon a prospective P/E ratio of 16.5 times — jutting marginally above the benchmark of 15 times that is generally considered great value — provides a great point at which to tap into AstraZeneca’s terrific long-term growth prospects.

On top of this, AstraZeneca is predicted to keep dividend yields rattling along at generous levels. Another projected reward of 280 cents per share produces a gigantic 4.2% yield, and I expect dividends to receive an injection further out as the firm’s next generation of sales drivers hit the shelves.

Take a punt on ‘The Pru’

Life insurance leviathan Prudential (LSE: PRU) also suffered chunky share price weakness last week, a double-digit percentage decline making it a bigger loser than its FTSE 100 pharma peer.

And like AstraZeneca, I reckon this share price erosion represents a terrific time for value hunters to pile in. Prudential’s commitment to product innovation drove new business profit 13% higher between July and September, to £1.8bn, and I expect the insurer’s Asia-focussed model to keep the revenues rolling in — new business profit from the territory leapt by almost a quarter in the period.

Against this backcloth, the number crunchers expect Prudential to follow an anticipated 14% earnings rise for 2015 with a 9% advance in 2016, leaving the company changing hands on a terrific P/E rating of 12.4 times.

And dividend seekers should be drawn by Prudential’s ultra-progressive payout scheme, in my opinion. A predicted reward of 44.3p per share for this year yields a handy-if-unspectacular 2.9%, but this will represent a 10% rise from a predicted 40.4p for last year if realised. And I believe Prudential’s progressive dividend policy has plenty left in the tank as cash flows surge.

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