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Value stars or value traps? 3 Footsie stocks to make you think

I believe easyJet (LSE: EZJ) is one of the hottest contrarian picks out there, particularly at current share prices.

The orange-and-white flyer was already on the defensive prior to June’s EU referendum. But concerns over deteriorating demand in Brexit Britain, allied with rising currency pressures and intensifying market competition, have taken the hatchet to easyJet’s stock value. The airline shed 42% of its value during 2016.

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Consequently the budget carrier trades on a P/E ratio of just 11.6 times for the year to September 2017, while the company also carries a super dividend yield of 4.3%.

A predicted 21% earnings decline illustrates the near-term challenges facing easyJet, as does a predicted dividend cut to 42.6p from 53.8p in fiscal 2016.

Having said that, I reckon the increasing pressures on UK travellers’ wallets should drive electric demand for easyJet’s cheap plane tickets still higher. And I’m convinced the operator’s ongoing expansion drive should set it up for stunning long-term sales growth across the continent.

The complete package

I also believe Smurfit Kappa (LSE: SKG) is a terrific bet for those seeking stunning value selections.

The newly-listed FTSE 100 member has excellent exposure to developed and emerging economies alike, Smurfit Kappa currently operating in 21 countries across Europe and more than a dozen in the Americas.

It purchased two Brazilian paper packaging firms at the start of the year, representing the company’s first foray into Latin America’s biggest economy. As well as bolstering its opportunities in fast-growing sectors, the firm’s expanding geographic presence clearly provides it with splendid earnings visibility.

And Smurfit Kappa’s ability to generate wads of cash gives it plenty of firepower with which to make further exciting purchases — free cash flow registered at a meaty €164m during the third quarter.

An expected 4% earnings advance in 2017 leaves it dealing on a meagre P/E ratio of 10 times. And the firm also carries a chunky 3.8% dividend yield for next year. I reckon this is a snip given the packaging giant’s hot growth prospects.

Battered by Brexit

Like Smurfit Kappa and easyJet, outsourcing play Capita Group (LSE: CPI) could also be considered too cheap to miss at current prices.

However, I reckon its 57% share price slide in 2016 is warranted given the company’s increasingly-worrisome revenues outlook as businesses defer investment decisions in the Brexit environment. And this backcloth appears set to persist as the UK’s self-extraction from the EU promises to be a prolonged and painful process.

Indeed, the City expects earnings at Capita to slip 3% in 2017, following an expected 9% fall last year.

Capita issued yet another profit warning last month as business continued to dry up. And I reckon that this year’s already-unappealing earnings forecasts could be subject to swingeing downgrades in the weeks and months ahead.

Its ultra-low valuations are a fair reflection of its sky-high risk profile — the firm carries a P/E ratio of 8.5 times and a 6% dividend yield. The Footsie giant isn’t a strong contrarian selection, in my opinion, and I reckon share investors should avoid getting burnt and shop elsewhere.

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

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