ASX 200 bank shares languish on Thursday despite market lift

Why are ASX 200 bank shares still struggling today?

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Key points

  • ASX 200 bank shares are slightly in the red today 
  • In contrast, the benchmark ASX 200 index is recovering today 
  • Multiple bank shares have been the subject of a broker update 

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) may be in the green today, but ASX 200 bank shares are lagging behind.

The benchmark index is climbing 0.17% today to 6,612 points at the time of writing.

Let’s take a look at how the major banks are performing against the index today.

Bank shares struggle

Among ASX banking shares sliding today is Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC), down 1.88%. The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ) is also falling 0.49% at the time of writing, while Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd (ASX: BEN) is sliding 0.67%.

Meanwhile, National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) is 0.06% in the red while Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) is falling 0.23%.

Multiple banks have been hit with broker rating changes today. Jarden Securities has downgraded ANZ Bank to underweight with a $24.50 price target, the Australian Financial Review reported. This is still 14% more than the current share price of $21.495.

Westpac has also been cut to underweight with a price target of $22.50, a 16% upside on the current share price of $19.33.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has also been cut to underweight, according to the publication.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank outlook has been raised to neutral by the broker with a $98 price target. This is 8% more than the current share price of $90.41.

Bank shares have had a rough start to the week on the ASX amid rate rise speculation. While rate rises can help mortgage margins, they can also increase the level of bad debts held by the banks.

As my Foolish colleague Bernd reported yesterday, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has raised the alarm bell on high debt customers. Specifically, APRA said:

In particular, banks will “need to have systems in place to limit growth in higher risk residential mortgage lending, such as loans at high debt-to-income multiples or high loan-to-valuation ratios.

APRA expects lenders to closely monitor housing lending risks to ensure that aggregate portfolio risks remain within their risk appetite and that standards for new lending remain prudent.

Motley Fool contributor Monica O'Shea has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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 positions in and has recommended Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited. 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 Scott Phillips.

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