Unicaja Banco becomes one of the big surprises on the stock market. Its entry into the Ibex 35 as the sixth financial entity has sent it a boost to gain positions and place itself on the radar of investors. Since its debut in the index three weeks ago (December 27), the share price has risen by 16%, a figure that has reached 17.85% since the start of the year and has bounced to 1.2 euros.
The journey of Unicaja Banco since the beginning of 2023 has allowed the company to be among the three that have appreciated the most, despite the 2% decline experienced this Monday. Only IAG and Meliá are ahead, with an increase of 28.44% and 22.98%, respectively. The upward trend of the stock market at the start of the year has played in their favor, after twelve months full of volatility. The Ibex accumulates an advance of 7.8% in the first eleven sessions and leaves behind the fall of 5.56% registered in 2022.
The market saw it as unlikely that another bank would jump into the index, where this sector already accounts for around 30%. Added to this is Unicaja’s level of free float, which increased to 1,319 million, compared to other entities such as Banco Santander (16,600 million), BBVA (5,900 million), CaixaBank (3,800 million) or Banco Sabadell (5,400 million). The reasons why the decision of the Technical Advisory Committee to make it the replacement for Siemens Gamesa have generated expectation, causing a ‘call effect’ of purchase.
The ‘Bloomberg’ market consensus gives it a trajectory of 13% one year to 1.39 euros. In fact, Société Générale and CaixaBank BPI have revised their recommendation upwards this Monday, while Alantra has changed to a neutral position. On the other side are Morgan Stanley, which has chosen to be underweight, and Kepler Cheuvreux, which has chosen to lower its estimate.
The expected twelve-month rebound is far from the 28% projected before landing on the Ibex, which means that in just three weeks it has exhausted part of its potential. It should be noted that, although the purchase advice has increased by five points since the announcement of its entry into the Ibex (77.8%), they are somewhat lower than the projections given in October, when they saw Unicaja Banco’s securities trading above 1.4 euros.
In fact, it has gone from being the second most attractive bank to invest in after Banco Santander, according to analysts, to third place. Its place is now taken by Banco Sabadell, which registered a growth of 17%, followed by Bankinter (+12.36%), BBVA (+10%) and CaixaBank (+8.3%). The leadership continues to be held by the firm led by Ana Botín, with 26%.
The banking sector stands as one of the great bets of the Ibex for this 2023 in a context marked by the rise in interest rates, which leads analysis houses to overweight this sector and keep track of them on the stock market. Experts are confident that the rises of 2022 will continue, which served to lessen the bump in equities on the Ibex 35, being the index that fell the least in Europe last year.
With a capitalization of 3,200 million, the fifth bank by volume of assets will have its annual accounts on January 31. The market estimates that the interest margin has risen to 1,065 million, compared to 730 million recorded in 2021, which would mean an increase of 45%, encouraged by the rise in the Euribor. If confirmed, it would reverse the 3.6% drop experienced during the third quarter due to a lower contribution from the retail business.