Lockdowns are easing, but are CSL (ASX:CSL) shares out of the woods yet?

Have CSL shares turned a corner?

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Across the country, lockdowns are indeed easing as we move towards Christmas and the end of 2021. But the CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price doesn’t quite look like it’s out of the woods just yet. That’s going off of this ASX 200 healthcare giant’s recent share price performance. CSL shares are, at the time of writing, trading at $310.96 each, up 1.16% for the day so far this Monday.

That puts CSL’s year to date gains at roughly 8.88%. That’s not awful, but when you consider the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is up around 13.4% for the same period, some shareholders might certainly be a little disappointed.

And when you look at CSL’s performance over the past year, things don’t get much better. CSL is down over the past 12 months by close to 0.3%. By contrast, the ASX 200 has put on a very healthy 16.6% over the same period. In fact, the CSL share price has barely done anything of note since January 2020. Back then, you could buy the same CSL shares for a very similar share price to what’s being asked today.

Now CSL shareholders probably aren’t used to this kind of share price malaise. This was a company that seemed to grow by double-digits every single year before last year, after all. In 2017, CSL shares went up by roughly 40%. In 2018, it was 32% and 2019 saw them appreciate by a whopping 50% or so.

So what’s going on here?

CSL share price has a year to forget, but is it back to the races?

Well, CSL was a company that struggled in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Its plasma collections business suffered enormously due to global lockdowns while a promising vaccine candidate that CSL developed with the University of Queensland failed to get off the ground.

But that’s the past. So what does the future of the CSL share price look like?

Well, in some good news for investors, one broker has recently upgraded its view on CSL. As my Fool colleague Brendan covered last week, brokers at Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) recently upgraded CSL shares to “outperform” from “neutral”, with a 12-month share price target of $338 per share. That implies a potential 12-month upside of close to 10%.

Macquarie believes the headwinds that have been buffeting CSL shares recently are easing. It points to the easing of disruptions in the US plasma collection market and reckons CSL’s new collection platform “may present upside for the group”.

At the current CSL share price of $310.96, this ASX 200 healthcare company has a market capitalisation of $141.6 billion, a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 43.5 and a dividend yield of 0.95%.

Should you invest $1,000 in CSL right now?

Before you consider CSL, you'll want to hear this.

Motley Fool Investing expert Scott Phillips just revealed what he believes are the 5 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and CSL wasn't one of them.

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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Macquarie Group Limited. 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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