ICICI Bank hits record high on profit beat, margin comfort

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Shares of ICICI Bank hit a record ₹1,059.4 on Tuesday after its third-quarter profit beat estimates on robust loan growth and margins met expectations.

The private lender rose as much as 5 per cent in the session and was the sole stock posting gains on the Nifty Bank index, which was down 0.7 per cent.

ICICI’s performance is in sharp contrast to that of larger rival HDFC Bank, whose shares declined nearly 14 per cent over the past five sessions after margins declined due to rising cost of deposits and intense competition.

Macquarie Capital said ICICI Bank was now at a 15 per cent premium to HDFC Bank on a core price-to-book value basis.

Also read: HDFC Bank: Readjusting to the new normal 

Mumbai-based ICICI reported a 10 basis point dip in net interest margin (NIM) to 4.43 per cent, from the previous quarter.

“While NIM may be strained, ICICI Bank may not see an aggressive NIM dip, unlike some frontline peers,” analysts at Elara Capital said in a note.

“While banking may be facing strain, ICICI Bank may hold against the tide with steady earnings,” they said.

Lenders have been consistently reporting double-digit loan growth over the past few months on increased demand. However, their margins have been squeezed by rising deposit costs.

ICICI reported a record high quarterly standalone net profit of ₹10,272 crore in October-December, compared with analysts’ expectations of ₹10,025 crore, as per LSEG data.

The bank’s total loans grew 18.8 per cent from the previous year, largely led by retail loans, while deposits grew 18.7 per cent.

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