Today I am looking at the investment prospects of two London laggards.
Metals play gets mashed
It comes as little surprise that platinum group metal (or PGM) producer Lonmin (LSE: LMI) suffered another heavy headache last week as commodity prices extended their downtrend. The business saw its share value haemorrhage an extra 27% between last Monday and Friday, and I see no immediate levers that could bring Lonmins eye-watering collapse to a halt.
Fresh fears over the state of the Chinese economy recently forced palladium below the critical $500 per ounce marker for the first time for five-and-a-half years last week, at around $486 per ounce. And sister metal platinum remains a whisker away from hitting levels not seen since December 2008 it was last dealing at $860 per ounce.
As well as battling the prospect of further revenues weakness, Lonmin also has to deal with worsening currency movements the South African rand sank to fresh record lows versus the US dollar just today as well as the problem of escalating operating costs.
While Lonmins decision to raise cash via a $400m placing in November buys the company some much-needed time, until metal prices begin to charge higher again I believe the digger remains a risk too far at the present time.
A brilliant banking pick
Banking colossus Lloyds (LSE: LLOY) was also one of the notable casualties of last weeks sell-off across the FTSE, although the business shed a more modest 6% between last Monday and Friday. The stock is no stranger to severe price weakness, however, with Lloyds shedding more than a fifth of its share value since 2015s highs of 89p back in May.
I have long considered Lloyds to be a terrific selection for bargain hunters, however, and last weeks collapse to two-and-a-half-year lows represents a fresh buying opportunity in my opinion.
Concerns over hulking PPI-related bills are likely to remain a concern at Lloyds for some time to come the bank has proved the biggest culprit in when it comes to mis-selling products to the public, and was forced to stash a further 500m away in provisions between July and September, taking the total to a whopping 13.9bn.
But I believe there are plenty of other reasons to excite investors, with the steadily-improving UK economy helping to power revenue growth at its High Street operations. Meanwhile, the roaring success of Lloyds Simplification cost-cutting exercise, not to mention its continuing asset-shedding programme, is also helping to undergird earnings growth.
Although Lloyds is expected to suffer an 8% earnings slide in 2016, the bank still changes hands on an ultra-low P/E rating of 9.6 times. Any reading around or below 10 times is widely considered too good to pass up.
And with the business expected to raise a projected 2.4p-per-share dividend for 2015 to 3.7p in the current period a figure that creates a market-busting 5.1% yield I believe Lloyds is one of the of the most attractive banking stocks on the market.
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