Should you buy last week's losers Rio Tinto plc (-7%), N Brown Group plc (-9%) and Hunting plc (-24%)?

The Motley Fool
Burning question mark
Burning question mark

Today I'm running the rule over three recent Footsie fallers.


A fashionable selection

Online clothing giant N Brown(LSE: BWNG) saw its share price disappoint again last week as fears over the UK retail sector resurfaced.

This fresh wave of weakness now leaves the Jacamo and Simply Be operator dealing at levels not seen for four years, around 230p per share. And I believe this represents a fine buying opportunity for savvy bargain hunters.

While it's true that N Brown isn't enjoying a cakewalk at the moment -- the company advised last month that "trading since the year end has been subdued," the impact of declining consumer confidence ahead of the upcoming Brexit vote, not to mention signs of a cooling UK economy.

But in the long-term I believe the retailer's revamped internet operations should pay off handsomely, not to mention the huge investment in its niche product ranges. Indeed, N Brown saw revenues of it so-called 'Power Brands' leap 10% in the period to February 2016.

The City expects earnings to tick 3% higher during fiscal 2017, resulting in a P/E rating of just 9.6 times. I reckon this is far too cheap given N Brown's robust growth drivers.

Batten down the hatches

The murky state of the oil market should deter value seekers from diving into services provider Hunting (LSE: RIO), however.

The company's shares sank by almost a quarter from Monday to Friday after a disappointing trading update sent investors packing. Hunting advised that the "very weak" performance endured across its divisions in quarter one and it "has extended throughout April and into May and is now predicted to continue over the next few months."

This comes as little surprise as pressured profits across the oil industry dent capital expenditure -- just this month Shell cut its budget for 2016 yet again, to $30bn from $33bn previously.

The City expects Hunting to ratchet up losses of 28 US cents per share this year, swinging from earnings of 3.1 cents in 2015. And the strong possibility of prolonged oil price weakness means that a bounce back into the black shouldn't be anticipated any time soon.

Problem stock

I believe the colossal supply/demand imbalances across commodity markets should underpin further share price weakness at Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) too.

Rio Tinto slumped last week along with a further decline in iron ore values, a segment from which the company sources nine-tenths of underlying earnings. And the steelmaking ingredient is still skidding back towards the $50 per tonne marker as traders fret over future Chinese demand and abundant seaborne supply.

But iron ore isn't the only problem for Rio Tinto, as its other critical markets like aluminium, copper and coal are also heaving under the weight of excess material.

So while commodity prices may have enjoyed their time in the sun in recent weeks, I believe they -- and consequently the share prices of Rio Tinto and its peers -- are in danger of a massive reversal.

Indeed, Rio Tinto's lofty P/E rating of 18.3 times for 2016, created by a predicted 39% earnings slip, certainly leaves plenty of room for a share price retracement, in my opinion.

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