Interest rates have been on a steady rise over the last 12 months and are currently sitting at 5.25%. It’s no secret that the UK banking sector’s performance is closely linked to this number, and Lloyds (LSE: LLOY) stock stands out to me as a leader in its field. As such I believe it could be a solid addition to my portfolio at its current price of 44p. Let’s investigate why.
Opportunity for future growth
Lloyds currently trades at a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 5.5. To put this into perspective, the FTSE 100 average P/E ratio stands at 14, highlighting the significant discount at which Lloyds shares are trading. When comparing this to established UK player HSBC, which trades on a higher P/E ratio of 6.5, I also see value.
This figure implies that the market may be undervaluing the company’s earnings potential. As an investor looking for opportunities with strong upside potential, this certainly turns my head.
In addition to this, the bank has delivered stellar results so far in 2023. For the first six months of 2023, it delivered £9.2bn in net income, an 11% increase compared with the same period in 2022. Profit after tax rose by 17% year on year, demonstrating solid margin expansion. In today’s tricky market, results like this give me confidence.
A high-yielding stock
Lloyds also offers an attractive income proposition. It currently offers a dividend yield of 5.7%, significantly surpassing the FTSE 100 average of 3.8%. It’s also significantly higher than competitor Barclays, which currently has a yield of 4.8%.
This robust dividend yield reflects the company’s commitment to returning value to its shareholders. In a volatile market environment, finding attractive income-generating assets is essential, and Lloyds stands out as a source of steady income.
A double-edged sword
As the UK’s largest mortgage lender, the bank does face headwinds in a challenging macroeconomic environment. Factors such as rising inflation and interest rates can impact homeowners, potentially affecting its ability to service mortgages. Additionally, uncertainty surrounding the property market could lead to fluctuations in housing prices, affecting Lloyds’ mortgage portfolio value.
However, higher rates also allow the bank to charge more on its loans, generating higher interest income. For H1 23, its net interest margin expanded by over 0.4% when compared with the prior year. This leads me to believe that higher rates are benefiting Lloyds.
The bottom line
As of today, it’s my top pick in the UK banking sector. Its low valuation, high dividend yield, and strong earnings performance make it a compelling option for my portfolio.
While the macroeconomic environment poses challenges, especially given its significant exposure to the UK housing market, I believe the upside from rising rates will counteract this threat. As such, I’m looking to add this stock to my portfolio today.