Today I considering whether investors should play recent weakness at three Footsie stocks.
Shares in Lakehouse (LSE: LAKE) collapsed last week following a poor reception to the construction play’s half-year numbers. Lakehouse advised that revenues excluding acquisitions dropped 17% during October-March, to £130.1m, forcing underlying EBITA to crash 80% to £1.7m.
In particular, the Regeneration division has endured “more difficult trading conditions during the period than expected at the start of the financial year as a result of reduced client budgets and changes in procurement structures,” the firm said. This is the second profit warning that Lakehouse has issued within the space of a few months.
Still, many investors would no doubt argue that the risks facing Lakehouse are currently baked into the price.
The business is expected to succumb to a 42% earnings slump in the period to September 2016, although still this results in a P/E rating of 4.6 times. And City expectations of a 3p-per-share dividend yields an eye-popping 8.6%, mashing the Footsie big-cap average of 3.5%.
However, the scale of internal strife at the firm — not to mention scale of problems facing its Regeneration arm — arguably makes Lakehouse a poor pick for risk-averse stock selectors.
Oil services giant Lamprell (LSE: LAM) also ducked during Monday-Friday, the stock defying Brent’s move to fresh six-month peaks above $49 per barrel. Investors remain concerned about the scale of capex cutbacks across the oil industry, not to mention the prospect of fresh reductions as the sector toils under chronic supply imbalances.
Just this month Shell slashed its capital expenditure budget for 2016, to $30bn from $33bn previously, despite a recovering crude values. Against this backcloth it comes as no surprise that confidence in support specialists like Lamprell remains equally creaky.
The number crunchers expect earnings at Lamprell to tank 60% in 2016, resulting in a P/E rating of 7.7 times. But like Lakehouse, I reckon current projections could be subject to severe downgrades in the near future, making Lamprell another high-risk selection.
Food manufacturer and supplier Greencore (LSE: GNC) toppled further from recent record highs last week after advising of a murky trading outlook.
Greencore saw revenues gallop 8.1% during October-March, to £691.6m, with strong food demand across the US and UK driving like-for-like revenues 12.7% higher. But investors locked onto the firm’s comments that “the UK backdrop is expected to remain uncertain given the changing nature of the grocery industry and other potential economic headwinds.”
The City expects Greencore to post earnings jumps of 10% and 11% in the years to September 2016 and 2017 correspondingly, however.
And consequently Greencore’s slightly-heady P/E rating of 18.5 times for the current period slips to an improved 16.5 times for 2017. While the sandwich maker may not be flavour of the month at present, I fully expect the business to continue serving up robust earnings growth.
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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Greencore. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.