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Is 2021 the year to buy National Australia Bank Ltd shares?

On the Australian share market, National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) shares are amongst the most traded, along with other bank shares like Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX: ANZ). The NAB share price is currently trading around $28.4.

ASX bank shares make up around one-third of the Aussie stock market, measured by the market cap and the All Ordinaries Index.

Within the financial sector, ASX bank shares are far and away the most popular. We will step through the absolute basics of valuing a bank share like National Australia Bank Ltd. If you’re truly interested in understanding more about how to value a bank share, you should consider watching this tutorial from the analyst team at Rask Australia.

You can subscribe to the Rask Australia YouTube channel to receive the latest (and free) value investing videos by clicking here.

Price-earnings sector valuation

The ‘PE’ ratio compares a company’s share price (P) to its most recent full-year earnings per share (E). Remember, ‘earnings’ is just another word for profit. That means, the PE ratio is simply comparing share price to the most recent yearly profit of the company. Some experts will try to tell you that ‘the lower PE ratio is better’ because it means the share price is ‘low’ relative to the profits produced by the company. However, sometimes shares are cheap for a reason!

Secondly, some extremely successful companies have gone for many years (a decade or more) and never reported an accounting profit — so the PE ratio wouldn’t have worked.

Therefore, we think it’s crucial to dig deeper than just looking at the PE ratio and thinking to yourself ‘if it’s below 10x, I’ll buy it.’

One of the straightforward ratio models analysts use to value a bank share is to compare the PE ratio of the bank/share you’re looking at with its peer group or competitors and try to determine if the share is too much or good value relative to the average. From there, and using the principle of mean reversion, we can multiply the profits/earnings per share by the sector average (E x sector PE) to reflect what an average company would be worth. It’s like saying, ‘if all of the other stocks are priced at ‘X’, this one should be too’.

If we take the NAB share price today ($28.4), together with the earnings (aka profits) per share data from its 2020 financial year ($0.805), we can calculate the company’s PE ratio to be 35.3x. That compares to the banking sector average PE of 24x.

Next, take the profits per share (EPS) ($0.805) and multiply it by the average PE ratio for NAB’s sector (Banking). This results in a ‘sector-adjusted’ PE valuation of $19.60.

Dividend models (a 101 walkthrough)

Given that ASX bank shares like NAB tend to have a history of paying dividends — and they are relatively stable businesses like REITs or ETFs — we can use a modelling tool called a dividend discount model or DDM to do a valuation.

A DDM uses the dividends shareholders are ‘expected’ to receive to arrive at a valuation.

To make this DDM easy to understand, we will assume last year’s dividend payment ($0.60) rises at a consistent rate into the future at a fixed yearly rate.

Next, we pick the ‘risk’ rate or expected return rate. This is the rate at which we discount the future dividend payments back to today’s dollars. The higher the ‘risk’ rate, the lower the share price valuation.

We’ve used an average rate for dividend growth and a risk rate between 6% and 11%.

This simple DDM valuation of NAB shares is $11.44. However, using an ‘adjusted’ dividend payment of $1.12 per share, the valuation goes to $20.08. The expected dividend valuation compares to National Australia Bank Ltd’s share price of $28.40. Since the company’s dividends are fully franked, you might choose to make one further adjustment and do the valuation based on a ‘gross’ dividend payment. That is, the cash dividends plus the franking credits (available to eligible shareholders). Using the forecast gross dividend payment ($1.60), our valuation of the NAB share price prediction to $28.68.

It’s time for further research

You could consider using these models as the starting point for your process for analysing and valuing a bank share like NAB. However, please remember that these are just tools used by analysts and in reality, a good analyst and investor will likely conduct 100+ hours of qualitative research before diving into their spreadsheet and starting their modelling.

For example, we spend a lot of our time looking at bank shares and writing about them, but if we were thinking about investing in a bank today we would want to get a handle on its growth strategy, economic indicators like unemployment, and then study house prices and consumer sentiment.

Are you stuck wondering where to invest right now? Have you got cash 'sitting on the sidelines'? Are you looking for dividend income AND growth but don't know where to start? Rask's expert ASX analyst team has just released a full report, detailing where we'd invest $10,000 right now.

Not only are we offering these 11 investment ideas completely FREE, we've also released an in-depth podcast to go with the report!

So, whether you have $2,000 or $50,000, our brand new analyst report could help transform your watchlist. Right now, you can get the full analyst report emailed to you for FREE by CLICKING HERE NOW or simply entering your email below.

Unsubscribe anytime. Read our TermsFinancial Services GuidePrivacy Policy. We’ll never sell your email address. Our company is Australian owned.

Are you stuck wondering where to invest right now? Have you got cash 'sitting on the sidelines'? Are you looking for dividend income AND growth but don't know where to start? Rask's expert ASX analyst team has just released a full report, detailing where we'd invest $10,000 right now.

Not only are we offering these 11 investment ideas completely FREE, we've also released an in-depth podcast to go with the report!

So, whether you have $2,000 or $50,000, our brand new analyst report could help transform your watchlist. Right now, you can get the full analyst report emailed to you for FREE by CLICKING HERE NOW.

Information warning: The information on this website is published by The Rask Group Pty Ltd (ABN: 36 622 810 995) is limited to factual information or (at most) general financial advice only. That means, the information and advice does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not specific to you, your needs, goals or objectives. Because of that, you should consider if the advice is appropriate to you and your needs, before acting on the information. If you don’t know what your needs are, you should consult a trusted and licensed financial adviser who can provide you with personal financial product advice. In addition, you should obtain and read the product disclosure statement (PDS) before making a decision to acquire a financial product. Please read our Terms and Conditions and Financial Services Guide before using this website. The Rask Group Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative (#1280930) of AFSL #383169.

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