ICICI Bank share price zooms 10% after Q2 result shows improved asset quality; is it the right time to buy?

ICICI Bank shares zoomed nearly 10% on Monday after the bank’s quarterly results showed an improvement in asset quality for the quarter ended September 2018. ICICI Bank share price surged by 9.8% to an intra-day high of Rs 346.55 per share on the NSE on Monday, the highest level in over a month. ICICI Bank was the top gainer on both the Sensex and Nifty indices in Monday’s trade.

Post-market hours on Friday, the country’s second-largest private sector lender ICICI Bank reported a 55.84% fall in its net profit for the quarter under review to Rs 908.88 crore as against Rs 2,058.19 crore reported in the corresponding period of last year. However, the bank reported a strong quarter as compared to the first quarter of the year, reporting a profit during the July-September 2018 period as compared to a loss of Rs 120 crore in Q1 FY19.

ICICI Bank’s asset quality improved during the quarter with the net non-performing assets (NPA) ratio slipping from 4.19% during the April-June quarter to 3.65% during the July-September quarter. Net interest income was reported at Rs 6,418 crore during the second quarter ended September 2018 compared to Rs 5,709 crore in the quarter ended September 30, 2017. The bank reported lowest slippages in 12 quarters leading to highest NII growth in 12 quarters.

Is it the right time to buy?

“The bank is changing gears toward profitable growth and guided to touch 15% consolidated RoE by June 2020. We keep our estimates intact and maintain our Buy rating, with a target price of Rs404, corresponding to 2.1x P/Book FY20E,” Emkay Global Financial Services said in a note.

Jefferies says ICICI Bank remains one of its preferred stocks. The brokerage expects continued core pre-provision operating profit (PPoP) growth over next 3-4 quarters as net interest margin starts expanding, loan growth picks up and asset quality normalises.

Nomura has raised target price to Rs 415 per share from Rs 375 share and has maintained a ‘buy’ rating. The firm said PPoP improvement could surprise positively. “We believe ROE (return on equity) recovery will be faster than earlier expected,” Nomura added.

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