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Home / Markets / Stock Markets /  ICICI Bank shares, the most favored by world’s analysts, has lagged behind

ICICI Bank shares, the most favored by world’s analysts, has lagged behind

A man speaks on the phone outside an ICICI Bank branch in Kolkata, India, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

  • The $32 billion lender has 56 buy recommendations, and its consensus rating of 4.95 on a scale of 5 is the highest among the 50 largest banks globally
  • While the bank reported higher provisions against bad loans due to the pandemic, it plans to raise as much as 150 billion rupees through a share sale

India’s ICICI Bank Ltd. is the world’s highest rated banking stock, but its performance hasn’t exactly been stellar.

India’s ICICI Bank Ltd. is the world’s highest rated banking stock, but its performance hasn’t exactly been stellar.

The $32 billion lender has 56 buy recommendations, and its consensus rating of 4.95 on a scale of 5 is the highest among the 50 largest banks globally, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Meanwhile its share price is down 32% this year, ranking it in the bottom four of that same group.

The $32 billion lender has 56 buy recommendations, and its consensus rating of 4.95 on a scale of 5 is the highest among the 50 largest banks globally, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Meanwhile its share price is down 32% this year, ranking it in the bottom four of that same group.

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Coronavirus lockdowns and low interest rates have taken a toll on global financial stocks, and India’s banks are still reeling from a crisis among the nation’s smaller shadow lenders. Even so, attractive valuations and signs of demand picking up in the villages should stand ICICI Bank’s shares in good stead, said Sanjiv Bhasin, executive vice president at IIFL Securities Ltd.

“We are witnessing a strong monsoon rainfall, and the rural sector is doing very well," Bhasin said. “The valuation of ICICI Bank gives a lot of comfort as it has been an underperformer."

India’s second-largest public lender is trading at about 1.9 times book value, cheaper than the NSE Nifty Bank Index’s 2.7 times. Its earnings have held up, with a 36% rise in net income for the June quarter, helped by the sale of stakes in its insurance subsidiaries.

While the bank reported higher provisions against bad loans due to the pandemic, it plans to raise as much as 150 billion rupees through a share sale to institutions to boost its balance sheet. A number of peers have undertaken such financial buffer building this year, and passive flow is seen helping to support ICICI Bank’s stock.

“Funds that track the MSCI, FTSE, Nifty 50 and Sensex indexes will need to buy around 40.8 million shares (10% of the share issued in the qualified institutional placement) over the next couple of weeks and the stock could be supported and outperform its peers," Brian Freitas, an analyst for Smartkarma, wrote in a note on ICICI Bank.

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