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Can Tesco plc (-16%), Burberry Group plc (-26%) & KAZ Minerals plc (-24%) stop the rot?

Today I’m looking at a few falling shares and wondering if the rot can be stopped and when they might start climbing again.

The worst over?

Although shares in Tesco (LSE: TSCO) have picked up a little over the past two weeks, at 165p today they’re still 16% down from their highest level so far in 2016, which was towards the end of March.

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The good news is that Tesco returned to profit for the year ended February 2016 — only a very small profit, but there are rises forecast for the current year and next, and that’s definitely the right direction. But the problem for me is that Tesco shares seem to be priced as if the bad days are over — even after two more years of forecast EPS growth, we’d still be looking at a P/E of more than 18 and at dividends that are a shadow of their former selves.

And with those results, chief executive Dave Lewis spoke of an ongoing “challenging, deflationary and uncertain market“. The price wars are not over — they are, in fact, still in full swing, with Lidl and Aldi opening new stores almost daily while Tesco, erm, isn’t. Tesco shares seem to keep attempting a recovery, only to dip back down again when the optimism proves unfounded — and I think the same could happen again if first-quarter results don’t shine.

Out of fashion?

Burberry (LSE: BRBY) shares have done even worse this year, with a 26% fall from a March 2016 high to 1,072p — and they’re down 44% since their 2015 peak in February that year. But are Burberry shares oversold now? I think they could be.

Earnings per share fell by 10% in the year to March 2016, with chief Christopher Bailey telling he expects “the challenging environment for the luxury sector to continue in the near term“. A lot of that is down to weakness in the emerging markets in which Burberry does a lot of its business, notably China which is in a bit of a slowdown and where not being too flash is the new in thing.

But that is also Burberry’s strength, as China, India, and the other growing new economies are where the next generation of fashion-conscious shoppers will be coming from — the potential growth in followers in China alone could be quite staggering.

I do thing the shares got a bit overheated in 2015, but forecasts suggest the P/E will drop to under 15 by March 2018, while dividend yields should reach 3.6%. I reckon that’s a fair valuation for a very good company.

Copper bottom

My third for today is KAZ Minerals (LSE: KAZ), and I’m not liking what I’m seeing. The share price has fallen 24% since this year’s high point in April to 146p, and since late June 2011 we’ve seen a calamitous 90% drop!

The obvious problem is that the copper unearthed by KAZ has fallen in price by around half in the past five years, partly due to the slowing of demand from China leading to a surplus of supply. That on its own might have been easily survivable, but KAZ’s problems are compounded by the massive $2.4bn debt it was carrying at the end of March — and that’s an awful lot for a company with a 2015 EBITDA of just $202m.

The company seems to have sufficient liquidity to keep going for now, but it has already started talks with creditors in case its debt covenants come under threat later this year — and unless copper prices recover sharply, that might well happen.

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