Earnings are set to sink at Burberry Group plc, Hikma Pharmaceuticals plc and J Sainsbury plc! Should you buy?

Today I’m considering the investment potential of three FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE: UKX) laggards.

Catwalk colossus

Wavering emerging market growth is weighing heavily on the luxury goods market, a trend that’s playing havoc with Burberry (LSE: BRBY) in particular. The fashion and classics brand saw earnings tank 10% in the year to March 2016, and a further 4% slide is expected by City analysts in the current period.

This comes as little surprise — Burberry advised last month that, since the start of the present fiscal year, “the external environment has remained challenging and underlying cost inflation pressures persist.”

It’s difficult to say just when Burberry’s bottom line will tick higher again, such is the extent of sales pressure in key markets such as Hong Kong. But I remain convinced that the enduring allure of Burberry’s brand — combined with huge investment in its online operations — should blast earnings higher in the longer term.

And I reckon a forward P/E rating of 16.3 times is a decent level at which to latch onto this promising growth story.

Medical marvel

Medicines giant Hikma Pharmaceuticals (LSE: HIK) has also been a major earnings casualty in recent times.

The result of sinking demand for its Generics products — combined with the impact of colossal R&D costs — pushed Hikma’s bottom line 5% lower in 2015. And an extra 15% decline is predicted for the current year.

However, I reckon Hikma’s improving product pipeline should deliver brilliant earnings expansion in the longer term, particularly as the $2.65bn takeover of US giant Roxane Laboratories pays off. On top of this, Hikma’s focus on the fast-growing markets of Africa and the Middle East should copper-bottom stunning revenues growth, in my opinion.

A forward P/E rating of 25.4 times may be heady at first glance. But I expect this to topple in the coming years as drugs demand takes off.

Shopper struggles

I’m not so convinced by the growth outlook over at Sainsbury’s (LSE: SBRY) as fragmentation in the British grocery sector intensifies.

The London chain has seen earnings sink during the past two years as the likes of Aldi and Lidl have really got into gear. And a further drop — this time by a chunky 9% — is expected in the period to March 2017.

And I can’t see a reason to expect Sainsbury’s to flip back into the black any time soon.

Sure, the business may be chucking vast sums at product and brand development, and has enjoyed great success with premium labels like Taste The Difference. And Sainsbury’s is hoping the takeover of Argos will light a fire under its online proposition.

But the multi-year expansion schemes of its upmarket and discount rivals, both on the street and in cyberspace, mean that revenues at Sainsbury’s are likely to remain under significant strain for the foreseeable future.

A prospective P/E rating of 11.2 times may be cheap on paper. But not cheap enough to make me take a punt, I’m afraid.

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