I’ve long been bullish over N Brown’s (LSE: BWNG) long-term investment case, the results of massive restructuring leaving the clothing giant in great shape to ride the e-commerce phenomenon.
But the impact of Brexit has battered investor confidence, and just today the British Retail Consortium advised that footfall in British stores slumped 2.8% in June on an annualised basis. This was the biggest fall since February 2014, and follows a stream of other disappointing retail gauges since June’s vote.
N Brown is expected to pay a 14.1p per share dividend in the year to February 2017, yielding a splendid 8%.
Sure, dividend cover may stand at a decent 1.7 times. But I believe a likely worsening in N Brown’s sales outlook, combined with a rapid rise in net debt, could put paid to current projections.
Housebuilders like Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) have also been smashed following the referendum due to their dependence on strong economic conditions at home.
But I reckon this represents a prime buying opportunity, for the near-term and beyond. While Barratt warned last week that it’s “too early to say what the impact of the uncertainty facing the UK economy will be,” the company cited Britain’s housing shortage and favourable lending conditions as reasons to be cheerful.
And I reckon investors can expect Barratt to make good on City estimates of a 31.7p per share reward for the period to June 2017. This figure creates a chunky yield of 7.7%.
Dividend coverage stands fractionally below the safety benchmark of 2 times, at 1.9 times. And a robust £590m cash pile as of June should soothe investor nerves still further.
Engineering giant Petrofac (LSE: PFC) has defied the oil sector’s murky outlook — and with it the prospect of extra budget cutbacks by fossil fuel producers — by continuing to pay handsome dividends to its shareholders.
I believe such a policy is on borrowed time, however.
Brent prices are again retreating below $50 per barrel thanks to worrying inventory data in recent days, putting fresh stress on the oil sector’s profits outlook. Plentiful OPEC production, combined with rising US and Russian output, is already casting doubts on a long-term recovery in black gold values.
Petrofac saw net debt jump to $1.1bn as of June from $700m six months earlier. And 2016’s projected dividend of 65.8 US cents per share is covered just 1.4 times by predicted earnings. I reckon investors should give a forward yield of 6.4% short shrift.
Asset manager Jupiter Fund Management’s (LSE: JUP) ability to thrive in the face of significant cooling in emerging economies has been extremely impressive. But I believe the Brexit vote could prove to be a game-changer for the firm’s business flows looking ahead.
The UK’s withdrawal from the EU is likely to prove a seismic event for the entire global economy. And with markets already fearing that US growth might be losing momentum, and eurozone fiscal troubles still running in the background, I reckon client activity at Jupiter could fall through the floor.
Jupiter is expected to pay a dividend of 23.3p per share in 2016, yielding a market-bashing 6%.
But this payout is covered just 1.2 times by estimated earnings. I reckon Jupiter could trim its generous dividend policy should client appetite sink in the months ahead.
Be brave and keep buying
But Jupiter's patchy outlook doesn't mean investors should pull up the drawbridge and hide.
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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Petrofac. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.