Down 34%: Is ANZ Banking Group a SELL?

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) share price has fallen an enormous 34% since its peak in early 2015.

Source: Google Finance

Source: Google Finance

In fact, in 2016 alone shares of Australia’s fourth largest bank have fallen 13%.

What’s going on?

ANZ Banking Group has the largest exposure to Asia of any Australian retail bank. Former CEO Mike Smith’s ‘Super Regional’ goal was to generate as much as 30% of revenue outside Australia and New Zealand.

So during 2015, when intense volatility engulfed Chinese share markets, ANZ Banking Group shares were hit harder than its domestic focused rivals like Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC).

At the time, each of the banks, including ANZ, were dealing with potential regulatory changes associated with how risks against mortgages were accounted for. They also conducted huge capital raisings needed to up their buffer against market crashes.

Moreover, in 2016, it is evident house prices have begun to cool off, competition from regional lenders is intensifying and small increases in bad debt charges have the market spooked.

Is ANZ Banking Group a SELL?

According to the 17 analysts surveyed by Reuters, the consensus recommendation is a ‘Hold’ on ANZ Banking Group shares. Only two have a sell rating.

Foolish takeaway

Investors should take analyst recommendations with a pinch of salt. Indeed, it’s vital — especially if you’re investing long-term — to do your own due diligence. That doesn’t mean spending weeks researching the banking sector and running a 20-page Excel valuation model.

Just reading the broker’s report or ANZ’s annual report will provide you comfort in times of share price stress because you’ll have a better understanding of the risks.

In my opinion, ANZ may not be a clear sell at today’s prices, however, it may be wise to hold off buying any bank shares until the end of 2016.

Rather than buy ANZ shares, I'm looking for other - faster growing - dividend shares to add to my portfolio, like the one The Motley Fool's expert analysts hand-picked as their best dividend share idea for 2016.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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