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Home / Special Reports / Major UK Banks Reporting

This report is not a personal recommendation and does not take into account your personal circumstances or appetite for risk.

22 July 2018

Major UK Banks Reporting

The four major UK banks have been a benchmark for UK 100 performance over the years, but also an important component of UK economic growth.

After a trying start in 2018, we are past the half-time mark, which means that mere days remain before we find out how the UK financial sector fared in the second quarter and first half of the year.

Release of Q2 earnings results for Lloyds Banking, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HSBC will mark a review of the financial sector’s health and provide useful guidance for the rest of the year to help investors make informed trading decisions.

This report will go over the key economic trends that drive the sector, highlight the Banks’ share price performance after the previous quarterly reports, go over technical indicators and charts for each of the major Banks, as well as highlight analysts’ perspectives for what lies ahead.

Positioning for success

Quarterly results from the Big Four UK Index Banks are a recurring event and seasoned investors pay close attention to each new earnings report.

Here at Accendo Markets, we believe in empowering our clients by doing much of the legwork and analysis for them.

That includes saving the dates when earnings are released, scoping the trading conditions, as well as analysing the changes that occurred in the trading environment since the last report.

Which leaves investors primed and ready on the crucial day to take advantage of the tradable opportunities presented by UK bank shares.

Here are the key dates to save in the diary:

  • Lloyds: 1 August
  • Barclays: 2 August
  • RBS: 3 August
  • HSBC: 6 August

Banking sector drivers

Major banks are finely attuned to the shifts in economic conditions and regulatory policy, which makes it another area of interest to experienced investors.

Several important factors are driving the banking sector in 2018. Chief among them is the ongoing Brexit negotiations between Westminster and Brussels.

Lack clarity on the final status of UK-EU relations, especially regarding the free movement of capital (one of EU’s so-called “four freedoms”) is creating uncertainty for the sector in terms of regulations (licensing, tax base) and future investment priorities (locations, personnel).

Another significant driver for the banking sector in 2018 is the continuing softening in UK economic growth, which is forcing UK consumers to tighten their belts and spend less on credit, mortgages and investments. Annual GDP growth slowed to a 6-year low figure of 1.2% in the first quarter of 2018 due to weaker household consumption and fixed investment.

Consumer credit and mortgage applications (important revenue sources for banks) still remained healthy in the second quarter. Although both metrics are off 2018 highs in their latest reported figures, the number of mortgages approved for house purchases in the UK increased to over 64K in May, beating market expectations. (Source: Bloomberg)

Outlook for the rest of 2018 appears to be rosier, however, with multiple policymakers from the Bank of England (BoE), including the Bank’s Governor Mark Carney, expecting improved growth in the second half of the year.

Improvement in economic conditions is seen as a major benchmark for potential tightening of UK’s monetary policy. Economists are widely expecting (with 77% probability) the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to raise its base interest rate during the MPC’s upcoming 2 August meeting. (Source: Bloomberg, 20 July 2018)

This makes 2 August a particularly important date for Bank sector investors, as it falls right in the middle of the corporate reporting season (same day as Barclays reports Q2 results), while also seeing a potential hike of UK’s key interest rates.

A tighter monetary policy would typically mean improved profitability figures for private banks, as higher interest rates are translated into improved Net Interest Margins (NIMs), the difference between the interest the bank receives from lending money and the interest it pays on deposits.

Due to their size, large UK and US retail banks are enjoying the benefits of a “low deposits beta”, where higher interest rates lead to increased revenues from customer borrowing, but don’t increase as much for customer deposits.

Yields on savings deposits are expected to turn higher later in 2018, according to analysts at Bernstein, but the process is expected to start with the more competitive small- and medium-sized banks, while the Big Four Banks should continue seeing higher NIMs. (Source: FT, 8 April 2018)

Across the Atlantic

American banks are taking the lead reporting quarterly results this summer, as Citigroup and JPMorgan started the ball rolling on 13 July, while Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley joined the fray on 16-18 July.

JPMorgan beat broker estimates on investment banking revenue and FICC (Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities) sales, with overall revenue +6% ($27.7B), while EPS was +26% ($2.29).

Citi’s revenue was +2% (but missing consensus forecasts), while EPS beat broker estimates, coming at $1.63 (vs. $1.57 consensus). FICC revenue was likewise disappointing, falling 6% YoY to $3.08B (missing $3.16B estimate).

Bank of America net income rose 33% in the second quarter, with the bank beating expectations on both revenue and EPS.

Goldman Sachs was the big winner among big US banks, delivering the highest Q2 revenue in 9 years and beating consensus forecasts on revenues (7.5% beat), EPS (28% beat) and FICC sales (1.8% beat).

Morgan Stanley is the latest big US bank reporting quarterly results, with sales and trading business +18%. The bank beat profit estimates on the back of higher fixed income (13% estimate beat) and equities trading business. EPS of $1.30 beat consensus expectations by a significant 20%.

Most of the US banks benefited from a boost to profit margins from corporate tax cuts which were signed into law by President Trump at the end of 2017.

Higher Fed interest rates helped deliver better interest revenues, but costs of deposits and short-term borrowing were also rising, eating into some of the banks’ margins.

Continue reading the report as we shift focus to UK banks and examine their performance following first quarter results.

For continuing analytical coverage of UK banks, you can also sign up to have our research sent directly to your inbox.

Page: 01

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY)

Lloyds began the year on a strong note, increasing its market share of gross lending to 16% (15.5% a year before), cementing its status as the top UK mortgage lender. Even more importantly, it managed to reduce costs of mis-selling Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), a persistent problem with UK banking sector, with latest PPI provisions falling to £90M (from £350M a year before).

Pre-tax profit +23% YoY, net income +4% YoY, while return on tangible equity improved by 3.5% (to 12.3%). Net interest margin increased to 2.93% (from 2.8% a year ago). Lloyds also reported strong asset quality of its lending book and improved capital adequacy ratio of 14.4%. Full-year outlook was maintained and the bank confirmed it was on track to achieve FY 2.9% net interest margin target.

Initial share price movement after Lloyds announced Q1 results was negative, with shares falling to as low as 64.6p in mid-day trading on 25 April, reflecting persistent concerns over the needs to set aside more funds to pay for PPI mis-selling on top of the £18B the bank already paid out since 2011.

Patience is a virtue

Note that while Lloyds share price briefly moved off-side of this Long position on 2 May, it is possible to protect the investment with a stop order directly on the trading platform. While the initial market reaction to negative quarterly earnings can result in volatility, a patient investor can take advantage of the rebound as long as they are confident in the underlying value of the stock.Investors can take advantage of a post-results share price movement, while at the same time managing their exposure, by using financial instruments called Contracts for Difference (CFDs).

With the shares falling 1.7% on the day of the results, astute investors could have waited out the immediate sell-off and opened a £5,000 Long position at 64.34p using a £1,000 deposit, then holding it just 2 weeks to close the trade at 66.93. This would have allowed investors to make around £200 in profit (before commission and overnight financing), which represents a 20% return on initial investment. Had the shares moved in the opposite direction, they would have incurred loss.

Note that while Lloyds share price briefly moved off-side of this Long position on 2 May, it is possible to protect the investment with a stop order directly on the trading platform. While the initial market reaction to negative quarterly earnings can result in volatility, a patient investor can take advantage of the rebound as long as they are confident in the underlying value of the stock.

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018
Example of a notional Lloyds deal ticket.

Page: 02

Barclays (BARC)

Barclays reported a £764M loss, reflecting £1.4B litigation charges over mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities, as well as £400M in PPI provisions. Operating costs (-6% YoY) were down, pointing to increased cost efficiency. Q1 net operating income of $5.07B (-4%) beat the £5.03B estimate, with pre-tax profit (excluding litigation) of £1.72bn (+1%) beating £1.63bn consensus.

Market reaction to Q1 results reflected these mixed messages, with the shares rising at the opening of the market session but giving up most of the day’s gains around mid-day (-1.4% day fall).However, core Tier 1 capital ratio of 12.7% (down from 13.3% in FY results) missed analyst estimate of 12.9% and disappointed those investors who were hoping that Barclays would be able to start paying better dividend going forward.

The following days also disappointed bullishly-minded investors, with Barclays shares trending lower both through the rest of the week and most of the following week.

Wider look

Investors who are interested in Barclays shares had several ways to benefit from announcement of Q1 results on 26 April. They could either open a Short position a day before, for example selling shares at 215p, then benefiting from the intraday fall to 208p after results came out.

On a £10,000 Short position and paying a deposit of around £2,000, this share price movement would have represented a potential £326 in profit before factoring in commission (a 16.3% return on initial deposit)

The other option would have been to wait until next week and opening a £10,000 Long position around 201p, then profiting from a rebound to 214p a week after. Such an investment could have yielded £646 in profit (excluding overnight financing and commission). Note that if the shares had fallen to the same degree, investors would have incurred a loss.

To take advantage of tradable opportunities around banks, investors need to pay attention not just to the days when results are announced, but also to market movements before and after.

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018
Example of a notional Barclays deal ticket.


Page: 03

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

RBS Q1 results came in as a pleasant surprise to investors, with the bank beating analyst expectations on most reported metrics and more than tripling its net profits. Operating profit increased +73% YoY (£1.2B vs. £699M consensus), net profit +205% YoY (£792M vs £319M consensus), while total income was +2.8% YoY and +8% QoQ. Strong Q1 results allowed RBS management to confirm its FY guidance and reiterate medium-term outlook.

Initial market reaction focused on these risks, sending the shares to as low as 264.5p in morning trading before recovering some the losses in the mid-day (shares -1.47% at the close). The following days, however, saw a re-appraisal of RBS value, with the bank’s shares trending higher.Despite positive Q1 results, much of the bank’s profits were driven by volatile trading activity rather than retail banking and consumer lending.

On 10 May, RBS shares rallied strongly after news that the bank agreed to settle its ongoing legal dispute with US authorities and pay a $4.9B fine. Despite the new expense, RBS shares jumped as high as 294p, underlining the notion that important corporate news are not limited to earnings releases and significant events can move bank shares even more than positive quarterly results.

Patience is key

A patient investor who is confident in the positive message of RBS results could utilise platform tools such as limit orders to enter a Long position at a point where they believe that initial negative sentiment reaches its limit.

Using CFDs, this could mean entering a Long position around 266p on the day of RBS results, then holding it while the share price recovered to 273p a week later. With an initial position of £7,000 and a deposit of £1,500, this would have implied a return of circa £184 before other trading expenses.

Holding the position even longer until the news of legal settlement and exiting at around 290p would mean a profit of around £631 (before commission and overnight financing costs), a 42% return on the initial £1,500 deposit. At the same time, if the shares kept falling below 266p, investors would have incurred a loss.

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018
Example of a notional RBS deal ticket.


Page: 04


Expectations for HSBC’s Q1 results have been high, but the report itself disappointed investors, in part because of a rise in operating expenses which left the bank significantly short of its own 10% Return on Equity target (RoE stood at 7.5% in Q1 2018, a fall of 6.3% compared to a year before).

January-March net profits were down 1.3% to $3.09B (vs. $3.13B a year before), while operating expenses (+13% YoY) grew faster than revenues (+5.5% YoY). A significant part of growing expenses ($897M) was earmarked to resolve legal and regulatory disputes related to mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities. To sweeten the pill, HSBC also announced a $2B share buy-back programme.

Share price reaction on the day Q1 results were announced (4 May) was mild. Initially, HSBC’s share price fell to the low of 697p within 2 hours of market’s opening bell but has recovered some losses in the afternoon, ending the session -0.96%. The next week, however, HSBC’s shares rallied and continued moving higher for the next 7 days, helped, in part, by the attraction of the announced share buy-back.

Trading with CFDs, Long or Short

Buying HSBC £10,000 shares at 698p using a £2,000 margin, they could have waited for the share price to come back to the 2 May resistance level of 733p. This ~5% share price rise over 7-day period would allow them to gain circa £500, or 25% of their initial deposit. Keep in mind that if shares continued falling on the day of the earnings release, the above transaction would have resulted in a loss.Investors who anticipated this reaction to HSBC’s quarterly results could have used the initial negative reaction to the earnings announcement to buy HSBC shares using CFDs when the share price hit session’s low in the morning.

Another alternative would have been to sell HSBC shares the day before earnings announcements, opening a Short position at 728p. The resulting fall to 698p would have represented a potential profit of around £413 excluding commission and overnight financing costs. Using CFDs opens multiple trading options for investors, while decreasing exposure.

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018
Example of a notional HSBC deal ticket.


Page: 05

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY)

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018

Lloyds has the biggest mortgage balance among UK banks (21% market share) and would likely see the most benefit from the Bank of England’s interest rate hike, that is widely expected on 2 August, just one day after Lloyds reports its quarterly results.

The combination of new earnings results and a meeting of the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) could present tradable opportunities for investors, especially if the two events diverge. If Q2 results disappoint, potentially sending the bank’s share price lower, but the MPC decides to hike its base rate, could this open a path to a rebound from bargain-level lows?

Brokers are bullish, with 74% of analysts saying either “Buy” or “Hold”, while 26% are saying “Sell”. A significant 84% of brokers are projecting a share price upside, with the average target price of 76.06p.

Will Lloyds return to May highs of 67.4p (+8.4%) or fall to June lows of 60.5p (-2.8%)?

  • Trading in a falling channel since the beginning of 2018
  • Shares are off June lows, in a short-term June-July uptrend toward channel’s ceiling
  • MACD crossed over signal line (a bullish signal) in late June
  • Trend’s strength (ADX) is weakening, leading to a shallower uptrend

Broker Consensus: 52% Buy, 22% Hold, 26% Sell
Bullish: Jefferies, Buy, Target 104p, +67% (11 Jun 18)
Average Target: 76.06p, +22% (16 July 18)
Bearish: Goldman Sachs, Sell/Neutral, Target 58p, -7% (8 Mar 18)

Pricing data sourced from Bloomberg on 19 July 2018. Please contact us for a full, up to date rundown.

Barclays (BARC)

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018

Barclays has exposure to the US market and recently passed the Federal Reserve’s stress test for banks, gaining approval for its capital allocation plans and opening the door for higher dividend pay-out or a share buyback programme.

Bank’s current dividend yield (1.48%) compares unfavourably to that of peers HSBC (4.93%) and Lloyds (4.48%) and with bank’s management under pressure from activist investors to shrink its investment banking operations, an improved dividend could win many shareholders to CEO Jes Staley’s side.

Broker consensus is biased to the positive, as 46% of Brokers advocate a “Buy” strategy, 42% saying “Hold” and only 12% saying “Sell”. Average broker target price of 219p hints at a return to April 2018 highs and an overwhelming majority of brokers (90%) are seeing an upside from current levels.

Will Barclays rise back to April high of 217p (+13.8%) or fall to 2017 low of 177p (-7.1%)?

  • Falling channel since May, but recently found a support around 184p level
  • Attempting to break out from the channel
  • MACD is still negative, but trending higher since early July
  • Strength of the downtrend (ADX) has significantly weakened since early July highs.

Broker Consensus: 46% Buy, 42% Hold, 12% Sell
Bullish: Jefferies, Buy, Target 265p, +39% (23 May 18)
Average Target: 219p, +15% (16 Jul 18)
Bearish: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Underperform, Target 190p, -1% (12 Jul 18)

Pricing data sourced from Bloomberg on 19 July 2018. Please contact us for a full, up to date rundown.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018

At the end of the first quarter, three major issues still cast a shadow over Royal Bank of Scotland:

  1. Settlement of a legal dispute with US authorities over mis-selling of toxic securities.
  2. Re-privatisation of the bank and reduction of government stake.
  3. Resumption of dividend payments, suspended since 2008 bailout.

By the end of Q2, RBS managed to partially resolve the first two issues, agreeing to pay a $4.9B fine in the US, while the UK government began divesting its stake (initially reducing it from 70% to 62%). Return to dividend pay-outs would mark a new chapter in RBS history, turning the page on its 2008 near-collapse.

Analyst recommendations are mixed, though the majority (96%) is holding for either “Buy” or “Hold”. Average target price of 311p is well above 2018 highs and all 18 recent broker updates see an upside from current levels.

Will RBS rebound to 305p 2018 highs (+24.7%) or revisit April 2017 lows of 221p (-9.4%)?

  • Sharp share price decline in Q2, with a potential range developing between 240p and 305p
  • Dual support around 240p, horizontal (Sep 2017 lows) and rising (dating back to early 2017)
  • Technical indicators (RSI, Stochastics) are oversold and MACD crossed over: all bullish signals

Broker Consensus: 44% Buy, 52% Hold, 4% Sell
Bullish: Jefferies, buy, Target 358p, +47% (6 Jun 18)
Average Target: 311p, +28% (16 July 18)
Bearish: AlphaValue, Add, Target 270p, +11% (12 Jul 18)

Pricing data sourced from Bloomberg on 19 July 2018. Please contact us for a full, up to date rundown.


Source: CMC Markets, 19 July 2018

HSBC is a heavyweight component of UK 100 blue-chip index and the most globally-oriented of major UK Index banks. Its worldwide presence gives it significant financial resilience, but also exposes it to major geopolitical events, especially to the fallout from trade confrontations between US, EU and China.

£2B share buy-back, initiated together with the announcement of Q1 results, has been welcomed by shareholders, but questions remain about the bank’s rising operating expenses as it invests in future revenue growth, disappointing investors who are looking for more short-term return on their equity.

Broker consensus is positively biased, with 89% of analysts suggesting either “Buy” or “Hold”. Analyst comments have been bullish, with the latest note from Société Générale (13 July) suggesting a target price of 760p, while the average target across all recent updates stands at 784p, close to 2018 highs.

Will HSBC come back to 2018 high of 798p (+13%) or retreat to 2018 low of 650p (-7.9%)?

  • Second quarter trading saw share price consolidation, with shares comfortably off 2018 lows
  • July uptrend, with a potential range developing between 692-750p
  • In a bullish sign, MACD crossed over in early July, signalling continuation of uptrend

Broker Consensus: 36% Buy, 53% Hold, 10% Sell
Bullish: Jefferies, Buy, Target 950p, +35% (11 Mar 18)
Average Target: 784p, 11% (16 July 18)
Bearish: DZ Bank AG, Sell, Target 630p, -11% (12 Jun 18)

Pricing data sourced from Bloomberg on 19 July 2018. Please contact us for a full, up to date rundown.

Page: 06

Want to take advantage of the above opportunities right now?

Whether you see UK Stocks going up or down for the remainder of the year, tradable opportunities will present themselves regularly. We’re here to help you weed them out and capitalise on them. Accendo Markets can help you increase your profit potential with the use of leveraged instruments such as CFDs, a flexible alternative to traditional shares that is currently exempt from UK stamp duty.

CFDs: Like shares, but more flexible

While buying 9,561 shares in IQE @ 104.58p requires an outlay of around £10,000 plus commission, the same exposure via a CFD requires about £2000 plus commission (see right-hand box; margin + costs). If a trader invests in IQE, one would assume they believe the share price is likely to move in their favour. After considering the ‘worst case scenario’ and assigning funds to cover it, the trader may conclude there’s little point in exposing the full £10,000 to IQE shares - some of that capital could be put to good use elsewhere in the markets. (Source: CMC, Prices indicative)

CFDs are leveraged instruments, but you don’t have to use leverage

If you had, say, £10,000 to invest in the stock market, you could deposit that amount into a share dealing account and purchase shares in a company. You would pay commission to open the position, 0.5% in stamp duty and the full £10,000 will be tied up in your chosen shares with any profit or loss based on that exposure. The same £10,000 worth of exposure can be secured with a CFD for a fraction of the initial outlay thanks to leverage, with the risk and reward the same as if £10,000 worth of traditional shares were held. But should you not be interested in leverage, you can always treat CFDs like shares. Simply deposit £10,000 into a CFD trading account and take the equivalent CFD position which will tie up as little as 20%/£2000 (note that overnight financing costs will still apply). The remaining £8,000 is not tied up, so you can use some of that to take advantage of another short-term opportunity elsewhere, or simply leave it on the account to support any losses. Best of all, using a CFD means you pay no stamp duty!

What’s your view?

Think shares will rise? Take a long position by buying CFDs (buy low, aiming to sell high). Think they’ll fall? Take a short position by selling CFDs (sell high, aiming to buy low). For a more detailed rundown of CFDs, their mechanics, associated costs and some trading scenarios download our ‘Comprehensive Guide to CFDs’ here.

Page: 07

The Accendo Markets Research Offering

Does your current broker’s morning report tell you all you need to know about yesterday’s news? If so, how is it offering you anything more than the plethora of information already available on the internet?

We’re proud that our morning editorial has become a hot commodity in the City, its content quoted daily by the journalists that are writing the news everyone else will be reading later in the day, if not the next. Our morning report tells you what’s driving the market at that moment and what to look out for in the day ahead.

If a company has reported earnings before the market opens, we’ll tell you why the shares are called to open up or down in relation to that announcement.

As well as the Morning Report, signing-up to Accendo Markets Research & Trade Ideas offers you the chance to receive the following publications:

  • Another Level: A selection of key level alerts on various stocks.
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  • Week in Advance: A summary of next week’s key events. Is there a trading opportunity there for you?

To ensure you can act as quickly as possible, you’ll receive an email with a link to the latest publication as soon as it’s released. You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time.

Based on a wealth of experience, gained from both large and small institutions, our Research and Trade Ideas are produced in-house. Our team of dedicated professionals comprises both analysts and traders, drawing upon a wide range of resources and methodologies.

Our aim is to provide you with the manpower and expertise you need to help you clarify, interpret and capitalise on the ever-growing volume of market information.

The journalists don’t pay for it and neither do you, so why not give it a go? You’ve nothing to lose and perhaps a little more to gain…

Page: 08

This research is produced by Accendo Markets Limited. Research produced and disseminated by Accendo Markets is classified as non-independent research, and is therefore a marketing communication. This investment research has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote its independence and it is not subject to the prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research. This research does not constitute a personal recommendation or offer to enter into a transaction or an investment, and is produced and distributed for information purposes only.

Accendo Markets considers opinions and information contained within the research to be valid when published, and gives no warranty as to the investments referred to in this material. The income from the investments referred to may go down as well as up, and investors may realise losses on investments. The past performance of a particular investment is not necessarily a guide to its future performance.

Prepared by Michael van Dulken, Head of Research
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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Posted 5 years ago

Mr Buta B

Always available, whenever I call I get straight through to someone that can and will help. The staff are very knowledgeable, helpful and easy to talk to.

Posted 5 years ago

Stephen B

Aymen Azizi keeps an eye on what is happening in the market and informs me with timely relevancy, email call, and txt.

Posted 5 years ago