Australian Financials: The Carnage Is Over And A Comeback Is Due

| About: Westpac Banking (WBK)

It's the end of the emerging markets world as we know it… Or at least that's what some over dramatic analysts would have you believe.

Granted, many stocks that are "emerging market dependent" are indeed getting pummeled.

But there are two reasons to temper the gloom.

To begin with, the pummeling may have gone too far, with shares giving up more value than justified. In other words, they could be poised for comeback.

Furthermore, enduring downside sometimes makes sense. Especially when the primary concern is generating income.

Now, Australian banks are among those emerging market dependent stocks that have been taking it on the chin lately.

One bank in particular - a member of the Australian and New Zealand banking oligopoly - has had its share price knocked down by 23% in the last seven weeks.

But with a 7.5% dividend and consecutive payments stretching back almost a quarter of a century, the stock may still have merit for income purposes.

Let's take a look at Westpac Banking Corp (NYSE:WBK)…

The Emerging Markets Influence

The Australia and New Zealand banking market is known as an oligopoly. As opposed to a monopoly, where an industry is dominated by one company, an oligopoly is an industry dominated by a few companies.

Westpac itself stands as one of the four banks in the Australia and New Zealand banking cartel.

Now, for upstart banks trying to break into that market, that's obviously not good news.

But for investors it is, because they can count on Westpac to produce at a certain level since it has a lock on part of that market.

Nevertheless, that market has been battered recently, primarily because Australia is somewhat dependent on China, to which it exports a lot of natural resources.

And since the story regarding emerging markets and China has become less optimistic, stocks and stock markets in those regions have dropped in value.

Whereas Westpac started the year on a tear, running up more than 20% by April, since then it's given back all of those gains and then some.

But, notably, it did this in concert with the overall Australian stock market.

Case in point: The iShares MSCI Australia Index ETF (NYSEARCA:EWA) followed the same path. Its share price was up for the year through April, but is now down 10% year-to-date.

You Can Bank on the Dividend

Assuming that the emerging market world isn't ending, that it's simply pausing on the way to bigger and better things, you have to think that stocks like Westpac have given back more than enough already.

One strong signal that this is actually the case is that it's trading at levels reached during the financial crisis.

What's more, there's the terrific dividend…

At nearly 7.5%, the yield is far above what you can expect from most stocks, especially since the dividend has been going up every year since 2008.

Its five-year average dividend growth rate is 6.74%, and the latest one-year bump was more than 15%.

Better still, the stock is reasonably valued, trading at just 15 times earnings.

Bottom line: The selling may already be overdone and a comeback could be overdue for Westpac. And with such a hefty dividend, solid track record and ability to keep paying, it's certainly a stock worth considering.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.