ASX expert: Sell CBA shares now

Calls to sell CBA shares near record highs are growing louder…

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The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price has been attracting a lot of attention of late. CBA shares command an outsized presence in the ASX arena at any given moment.

That's largely thanks to its status as the largest ASX bank share, as well as being the second-largest share on the entire ASX.

This is also a company many investors have owned (and benefited from) for decades. So what this share does on a day-to-day basis typically attracts more attention than most.

But CBA has been in the news even more than usual lately. And it's not hard to see why. This ASX bank has been downing new all-time record highs like bowling pins in recent months.

New record highs falling like flies

It's hard to imagine today, but as recently as November, CBA shares were going for under $96. But in the months since, the bank has hit a series of new records. The most recent came just last month, which saw Commonwealth Bank climb to $121.54 a share.

Check it out for yourself below:

This is interesting because this latest record high followed on from a lukewarm reception of CBA's latest earnings report generated in February.

As we covered at the time, these earnings revealed a 0.2% rise in operating income to $13.65 billion, whilst expenses rose 4% to $6.01 billion. The company's net profits after tax fell by 3% to $5.02 billion.

Perhaps CBA's 2.4% dividend hike to its interim payout, bringing it to a fully-franked $2.15 per share, resulted in a subsequent re-evaluation in the weeks since this earnings report came out.

Even today, with the CBA share price sitting at $118.04 at the time of writing, we're not too far off the bank's new record high.

But one ASX expert is warning investors to take advantage of this fact, and sell their CBA shares today.

ASX expert tells investors to sell CBA shares

As reported by The Bull, Damien Nguyen, analyst at ASX broker Morgans, has given the CBA share price a sell rating. Nguyen notes that CBA is a quality company.

But he told investors that the shares are simply too expensive to justify at their current levels, given their expected future returns. Here's what he said in full:

Australia's biggest bank enjoys a loyal retail investor and customer base. However, we believe potential medium term returns are too compressed at current prices considering its earnings outlook and elevated trading multiples. The shares were recently trading at a substantial premium to our 12-month price target of $91.28.

Nguyen's view aligns with the vast majority of ASX experts that we've recently covered regarding CBA shares.

Last month, my Fool colleague went through the thoughts of Wilsons equity strategist Rob Crookston. Here's what Crookston had to say:

While CBA has a lower ROE [return on equity] (13.3%) relative to JP Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) (14.9%), it trades on a 58% premium on a price-to-book basis… While the historically resilient Australian economy and the concentrated nature of the domestic banking sector deserves a premium, this is excessive.

That followed a share price target of $95 for CBA from brokers at Macquarie, which we also went through last month.

So most ASX experts seem united in their view that CBA shares are overvalued right now. But many analysts have been voicing similar sentiments for years, yet here we are in early 2024 with a series of new all-time records for the CBA share price.

JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. 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. has positions in and has recommended JPMorgan Chase and Macquarie Group. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Macquarie Group. 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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