AMP shares: buy, sell or hold?

They were once a staple of retail portfolios but have fallen out of favour after a 81% plunge the last 5 years.

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Buy, hold and sell ratings written on signs on a wooden pole.

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AMP Ltd (ASX: AMP) was a darling of retail investors for two decades after publicly listing in 1998.

Because it was converted from a mutual, all of its customers at the time received shares when the company floated. So to this day it has one of the biggest shareholder registers on the ASX.

Unfortunately that popularity has all come undone over the last five years as scandal after scandal hit the financial giant.

Over that half-decade it's been through multiple chief executives, a damning Royal Commission, and sexual harassment allegations among its executives.

All this drama has been torture for both customers and shareholders.

The AMP share price has now declined 81% since its March 2018 peak.

So are the shares for this once powerful financial institution a target for bargain-hunting investors?

Are AMP shares now cheap or are they sus?

The bad news for those seeking a value buy is that AMP apparently isn't what you're looking for.

According to CMC Markets, just one out of the nine analysts that cover the stock rate it as a buy right now.

Five recommend a hold, while three are urging investors to sell.

Only a couple of weeks ago both Barrenjoey and Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C) brokers downgraded their outlook for AMP shares after the company gave a quarterly update.

The Motley Fool's Tristan Harrison reported that both outfits cut their share price target.

The AMP share price has now plunged 20.8% since 15 September.

"Management said that the net interest margin (NIM) for the full year is now expected to be below the previous guidance of 1.30% to 1.35%," reported Harrison.

"That may have been a key factor for the AMP share price pain."

It seems most experts think AMP shares are a falling knife that should not be caught with bare hands.

Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo 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 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 Scott Phillips.

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