Can CSL (ASX:CSL) shares regain their pre-COVID highs above $330?

Will CSL ever see its highs above $330 a share again?

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When will the CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price reclaim its glory days and rise to its old all-time highs around $330 a share?

It’s a good question, to be sure. CSL used to be one of the most exciting blue chip shares on the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO). It gave investors mind-blowing returns for years, rising by more than 20% in 2017, 2018, 2019 and for the first two months of 2020. That helped propel CSL from a mid-tier ASX company to the largest company on the entire Australian share market in just those few years, a mantle it held for a few months last year until Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) eventually reclaimed the crown.

But a post-COVID world hasn’t been too kind to CSL. This ASX 200 healthcare giant last topped out at around $337 a share back in February 2020 – a level we have yet to see reclaimed by CSL. As it stands today, CSL is trading at $310.84 a share, up 1.1% so far. At this share price, CSL is still around 7.6% off of its all-time high, meaning the shares have gone backwards over the past 18 months or so.

So can CSL shares regain their former glory?

Can CSL shares hit their all-time high again?

Well, one expert investor thinks so. Livewire Markets recently asked 7 fund managers to pick a share that they would be happy to buy and hold forever. Ben Clark, of TMS Capital, picked… you guessed it, CSL. Clarke says this is because CSL is a clear market leader in its space, a position he believes the company will hold on to for years to come thanks to its mentality of “aggressively reinvesting to continue to build scale and efficiency”.

Clark points out that CSL only has two competitors globally and says “due to the unique industry structure and scale required, I find it hard to see there being a fourth in my lifetime”:

Never say never but it’s hard to see how it could be disrupted by advancements in technology, blood plasma and its various components are the building blocks of life and the key components of many treatments…

CSL for many years has been investing aggressively into R&D and has a formidable pipeline of products at various stages of development pushing through it… Some won’t make it to market, but a future blockbuster drug could definitely be in there and new revenue streams will undoubtedly flow.

So there you have it, an unambiguous and enthusiastic endorsement of CSL as a worthy lifetime ‘buy and hold’.

That inherently implies that CSL will indeed see and exceed its all-time highs of around $337 a share at some point in the future. If Clarke’s endorsement measures up to its lofty aspirations, this might not take too long either.

At the current CSL share price, this ASX 200 healthcare blue chip has a market capitalisation of $141.6 billion, with a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 43.8 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.

The online investing service he’s run for over a decade, Motley Fool Share Advisor, has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.* And right now, Scott thinks there are 5 stocks that are better buys.

*Returns as of January 13th 2022

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 has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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