Is the Westpac share price expensive in April?

How expensive are Westpac shares compared to the other ASX 200 banks?

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Key points

  • ASX bank shares like Westpac are enduringly popular ASX investments
  • But how does the Westpac share price compare as we close out April?
  • Westpac shares are cheaper than two of its big bank rivals on a P/E ratio basis

Now that we are getting towards the business end of April, it might be a good chance to take stock and check out the Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price.

As a big four ASX 200 bank, Westpac is one of the largest and most widely-held ASX shares on the market.

So as it currently stands, Westpac shares closed on Wednesday trading at $23.45 each, down a nasty 1.88% for the day. This places the Westpac share price 8.26% higher so far in 2022, a significant outperformance of the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO).

But over the past 12 months, Westpac’s performance hasn’t been quite as impressive. Since April 2021, Westpac shares have lost 7.31% of their value. The bank is still well in the red over the past five years, too, having gone backwards by a significant 33% or so over this period.

So that might lead some investors to wonder if the Westpac share price is cheap or expensive right now.

Are Westpac shares cheap compared to the other ASX 200 banks?

Well, let’s see how this ASX 200 bank is being priced compared to its peers. The price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is a useful metric to employ when comparing the valuations of mature companies in the same sector.

Right now, Westpac shares have a P/E ratio of 17.57, meaning that investors are willing to pay $17.57 for every $1 of earnings the bank brings in. This tells us that, on a raw dollar-to-dollar earnings comparison, investors are valuing Westpac shares at a higher price than Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ). ANZ shares currently trade with a P/E ratio of 13.53.

However, investors are giving Westpac shares an almost identical premium to fellow bank National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB). NAB currently has a P/E ratio of 17.61, just a tad higher than Westpac’s own.

But Westpac can’t shine a light on Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) shares. CBA commands a clear premium for ASX bank investors. In CBA’s case, investors are willing to pay $19.80 for every $1 of CBA’s earnings.

So right now, Westpac shares are cheaper than CBA and NAB on a P/E ratio basis but more expensive than ANZ.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen owns National Australia Bank Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Westpac Banking Corporation. 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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