Three top recovery plays for 2017


Everybody likes picking up a bargain in the January sales, and the following three companies are all trading at a discount after a tough 2016. Should you pop them into your shopping basket?


Budget airline easyJet (LSE: EZJ) has had a year to forget with the share price down 40% over the past 12 months. The company has been hit by falling revenues per seat as it cuts fares to fight off tough competition from rivals Ryanair and Wizz Air. Terrorist attacks have inflicted collateral damage, by hitting passenger demand. Brexit was a further blow, as easyJet generates roughly half its revenues from UK passengers, whose money doesn’t travel as far overseas these days, while European airport costs have risen sharply in sterling terms.

November passenger statistics showed a rise of 2.9% to 4.95m year-on-year, which may give grounds for optimism, although load factor dropped 0.6 percentage points to 89.7%. At today’s reduced valuation of 9.55 times earnings, easyJet does look a tempting recovery play, while income seekers will be tempted by its soaring 5.3% yield. However, with Brexit uncertainty weighing, and the company’s earnings per share (EPS) expected to have fallen  21% over the year to 30 September 2016, it may take a little longer before easyJet is ready to fly.


Broadcaster ITV (LSE: ITV) has been a real turn-off in 2016, with the share price down 26% in that time. This follows years of must-see growth, so some kind of retrenchment was inevitable. ITV has been hit hard by falling TV advertising revenues, which only accelerated after the shock Brexit decision, as travel companies, retailers, banks and insurers cut back on their spend. The BBC’s Olympics coverage will have hit summer viewing figures.

There are still good reasons to tune into ITV. In a fragmented media market, the company can still regularly deliver 5m eyeballs, or 15m for its most popular shows. It’s also diversifying its revenues away from domestic advertising by selling more programmes overseas, with revenues from ITV Studios rising 18% to £923m in the third quarter, driven by acquisitions. Chief executive Adam Crozier also expects deliver double-digit revenue growth in online, pay and interactive, and plans to make the operation leaner by slashing £25m of costs. The shares have rallied lately and ITV’s ratings could continue to rise in 2017.


Retail chain Next (LSE: NXT) has slipped out of style among investors in recent years but 2016 was a real fashion disaster. Sales plunged due to unseasonal weather, stock shortages in its formerly fast-expanding Directory operation, and Brexit, as the subsequent fall in the pound is driving up the cost of imported materials. As incomes stagnate shoppers will be resistant to rising prices.

There’s no sign of a recovery yet. Q4 retail sales fell 5.9%, while Directory sales were flat. However, operating margins of 20.7% are impressive, and the stock’s 3.2% yield is covered 2.8 times. Trading at 11.1 times earnings, this well-managed company has strong recovery potential, although given Brexit uncertainty, investors may have to be patient before Next can finally strut its stuff.

The doom-mongers said Brexit would be a disaster for the UK, but the FTSE 100 surprised everybody by rebounding to new highs.

Still, it's early days and the turbulence may return with a vengeance once Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50.

This BRAND NEW special Motley Fool report sets out exactly what Brexit means for your portfolio, and how you can take advantage by picking up top company stocks at bargain basement prices.

Don’t fret about Brexit any longer but click here to read this no obligation report. It will be yours in moments and won't cost you a penny.

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