Why is Westpac stock beating the other ASX 200 banks today?

Why is this bank outperforming the others?

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The Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price is currently up by 0.81%, beating the other major S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) bank shares.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price is up 0.55%, the ANZ Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: ANZ) share price is up 0.14% and the National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) share price is up 0.64%.

As a comparison, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) as a whole is only up by 0.17%, so the ASX financial share sector is having a solid day.

What is happening with Westpac shares?

The ASX bank share hasn't made any announcements today. But there may be a couple of things on investors' minds this week.

Firstly, according to reporting yesterday by the Australian Financial Review, RAMS isn't going to be sold by the ASX 200 bank share because it wasn't appealing enough for potential buyers to put in a compelling bid. A Westpac spokesman said to the AFR:

Westpac has concluded the sales process for its RAMS business without reaching a sales agreement.

Westpac will continue to operate RAMS and support RAMS franchisees and customers while it considers further strategic options for the business.

The AFR said sources pointed to RAMS' "precarious franchisee network" as a key issue, with some being incentivised to stay, which may mean future write-downs. RAMS currently has around 40 franchisees. There were also concerns about RAMS' "lack of a back book, or any significant funding sources".

RAMS has also been talking to credit funds to try to get a new securitisation deal, without success.

It was reported the value of RAMS could be as low as $10 million, compared to the $140 million purchase price during the GFC.

We also learned yesterday, as reported by my colleague James Mickleboro, that Westpac's upcoming profit result will be reduced by $164 million because of "notable items relating to unrealised fair value gains and losses on economic hedges and net ineffectiveness on qualifying hedges, which reverse over time."

Is the ASX 200 bank share an opportunity?

The broker UBS doesn't think so, with a sell rating on the ASX bank share. It has a price target of $23 on the business.

A price target tells us where the broker thinks the Westpac share price could be 12 months from now. From the current level, that implies a possible fall of around 12%. That's not guaranteed to happen of course.

UBS recently noted that the rally of the bank share prices came at a time when earnings are expected to decline, which "suggests market expectations are too optimistic".

UBS' projections for the next couple of financial years puts the Westpac share price at more than 14x FY24's and FY25's estimated earnings. UBS is suggesting that a price/earnings (P/E) ratio of around 13 would be a fair price.

Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison 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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