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17 February 2018

UK Banks Reporting Full Year Results

The most important sector to the UK economy, the Banking sector is a key barometer not just to consumer sentiment, but also investors’ thinking.

Just 18 months after some institutions traded seven year and even all-time lows following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, UK Banks have enjoyed a miraculous turnaround. But is this recovery set to continue? What hurdles remain for our economy’s key sector?

Central banks rule the roost

2018 has kicked off with a slew of notable central bank meetings. The European Central Bank began by giving a more hawkish than expected policy statement, with President Draghi noting a decision on extending the Bank’s quantitative easing (QE) taper would be made later in the year, while interest rates would remain unchanged for some time.

The US Federal Reserve meeting a week later was a much more reserved affair. However recent inflation prints have raised expectations that the Fed will have to hike interest rates faster than previously expected, a primary drive for increased equity market volatility.

For the domestically-focused UK Banks, however, it was the Bank of England’s monetary policy update earlier this month that has been the most influential.

Policymakers believe with global growth progressing and stubbornly high UK inflation hurting consumers, the Bank will raise interest rates sooner and by more than is currently expected. This will have a significant impact on UK banks, as explained later in the report.

To access, or not to access

Like a real-world game of hokey cokey, politicians, the media and bankers themselves have been unsure what impact Brexit will have on UK banks.

Reports that financial institutions will be allowed access to the continent after Britain leaves the EU have been followed just as swiftly by reiterations that the UK will leave the EU single and customs markets.

Currently, banks have access to the European continent through these markets, allowing UK institutions to act as a gateway to Europe for US and Asia investors, cementing their world leading titles.

Although, the impact on UK banks is yet unknown, If the UK were to lose access to the continent it may force both jobs and operations abroad as banks struggle to maintain the status quo. And with politicians yet to clearly define their position on financial institutions’ future access to the EU, this issue could loom over banks for much of 2018.

What dates do the UK Banks report?

With full year results providing a key launchpad for share price performance over the coming days, weeks and months, it’s unsurprising the four major UK high street banks all report during the same week.

HSBC kicks off proceedings, releasing FY figures on 20 February, before Lloyds follows the very next day.  Barclays releases its results on 22 February, while RBS rounds things off, reporting on Friday 23rd.

Overleaf, we analyse the reaction to major UK banks’ third quarter results, including the performance of shares in the following days and weeks, and preview the major talking points of their full year results.

Page: 01

Previous share price reactions

HSBC (HSBC) - Reports 20/02

A year ago, HSBC’s full-year results were headlined by a 62% decline in profits from a year earlier, including a £2.8bn loss in Q4, further blighted by the announcement of a much smaller than expected share buyback.

The bank attributed the sharp drop in profits to a number of one-off charges, including the sale of its Brazilian business, as well as announcing a new FCA probe into money laundering. Management highlighted concerns over a number of global trends, including increased global protectionism, led by the US and President Trump. Shares suffered dramatically after the release of last year’s full year results. By the end of the session, shares had fallen 6.5%, the bank’s single worst session since the Chinese stock market sell-off of August 2015.

It was a significantly better affair following both Q1 and Q2 results, as shares rallied 3.0% and 1.8% respectively.

Q1 results were highlighted by an increase in underlying profits and a further $1bn share buyback programme, shrugging off a $210m provision for PPI, while Q2 saw another $2bn share buyback pledge. However, shares fell 1.1% following Q3 results in October as an increase in costs to cover bonus payments offset a rise in revenues.

A CFD could have been used to maximise potential returns from the post-FY results move in HSBC shares. A £10,000 long position, opened at 665p using a £500 deposit on the day of results and closed at 770p Summer 2017 highs, would have made a £1500 profit before commission and overnight financing costs. Should shares have fallen by the same amount, you would have incurred losses of an equal magnitude.

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) - Reports 21/02

Lloyds announced that profits reached their highest level since the financial crisis in February 2017, headlining a full year results release that was well met by investors. Profits more than doubled on the previous year as it managed to avoid further charges for PPI mis-selling, while largely shrugging off the previous year’s Brexit vote. Investors were uplifted by the announcement, seeing the bank’s shares climb 4.4% by the end of the session.

It was more of the same following Q1 results in April. Lloyds announced yet another doubling of profits year-on-year, this time helped by a large one-off cost the previous year. Shares rallied 2.4% in reaction to the release.

The picture was less rosy following the half year results in July. Shares fell 2.3% after the bank missed analysts’ expectations, despite an increase in both profit and revenues, while announcing a £1.05bn provision for PPI repayments and a further £540m for other conduct provisions. It was back to positivity in October, albeit a quiet 0.8% move higher, as the bank announced Q3 profits of £1.95bn, +141% YoY and ahead of market estimates.

It would have been possible to maximise potential returns from the post-results rally in Lloyds shares using a CFD. With the shares climbing 4.4% on the day, if you had opened a £10,000 long position at 67p the previous day using a £500 deposit, closing the trade at the day’s closing price of 69.7p, you could have been able to make a £400 profit before commission and overnight financing costs. Note, should shares have moved against your trade by the same amount, you would incur losses of an equal magnitude.

Page: 02

Barclays (BARC) - Reports 22/02

Barclays shares fell 2.6% when they reported full year results in February 2017, with a near tripling of profits not enough to offset concerns about rising costs and impairments at its investment bank. Furthermore, the bank agreed to pay £790m to its African division in order to fund its move away from the parent company.

The negative investor reaction was repeated following Q1 results in April, this time even more pronounced as shares dived 5.1%. The sell-off came despite management announcing a more than doubling in pre-tax profits from continuing operations as underperformance in its trading division compared with US rivals weighed.

It was a similar story after Q2 results, with shares dipping 1.7% after the bank announced a £1.4bn loss. The bank missed analysts’ expectations as group revenues fell 15%, while UK profits were hit by a £700m PPI provision. But the worst was saved for last as shares fell 7.4% in reaction to Q3 results in October. Once again, a poor trading performance was to blame, as a 34% drop in revenues overshadowed a 40% jump in quarterly profits.

A year ago, Barclays shares began a 9-month downtrend after FY results. It would have been possible to maximise potential returns from a short trade using a CFD, which allows traders to profit from falling markets. If you had opened a £10,000 short position at 240p in February 2017 using a £500 deposit, closing the trade near 2017 lows of 180p, you could have turned a profit of £2,500 before commission and overnight financing costs. Note, should shares have rallied by the same amount, you would have incurred losses of an equal magnitude.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) - Reports 23/02

On 24 February 2017, RBS shares fell 4.5% after the bank announced a £7bn loss. A trebling of the figure given just two years earlier and its ninth consecutive annual loss, it brought total losses over 9 years to £58bn. The bank’s CEO announced a plan to cut costs by £2bn and pledged to stay with the company until it was in profit.

Since those full year figures were announced, however, the bank has released a string of well-received results.

Most notably, Q1 results in April were met with a 4.7% share price rally as the bank reported a first quarter profit, its first since Q3 of 2015. RBS then followed this with a 2% rally after reporting a first half profit in August, while Q3 results in October resulted in a further 1.7% rally as the bank announced a third successive quarter of profits. Investors will now be asking if full-year results can see a repeat performance of the preceding quarters?

A year ago, it would have been possible to trade RBS shares using a CFD to maximise the potential return from the post-results recovery. By opening a £10,000 long position with a £500 deposit at 240p, a price traded on the day of results, and closed the trade at a price of 280p eight months later, you would stand to make over £1650, before factoring in commission and overnight financing costs. Note, should shares have fallen by the same amount, you would incur losses of a reciprocal magnitude.

Over the page, we preview what each of these banks full year results will be influenced by, as well as detailing any potential announcements that will drive the share price on the day. Will your bank of choice announce favourable results?

Page: 03

What to expect from February’s FY results

The most globally exposed of the UK banks, HSBC will have to navigate the aforementioned macroeconomic trends to a much greater degree than its UK peers. With locations across the globe, HSBC is exposed to China as it expands to become a consumer based economy, the US and the Trump administration exploring deregulating as well as recent tax reform, and of course the impact of Brexit on its London headquarters.

Increasing inflation in the US has also seen investors become warier of a faster cycle of interest rate hikes in the US, a key driver behind recent market volatility. Whilst this contributed to the equity market correction of early February, it may also prove to be positive for global financial institutions.  Increased volatility allows its global trading departments to turn a greater profit, benefiting from years of professional experience, while increasing interest rates across the globe also allow the bank to charge higher interest repayments on loans to consumers.

Just six weeks into 2018, Barclays has already been on a rollercoaster of emotions. The bank received a second charge from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office over a 2008 Qatari cash loan that saved it from a government bailout. This charge is against its UK banking unit and therefore threatens the banking licences allowing it to operate.

Whilst this is expected to be a protracted affair like previous investigations into peers following 2008, more immediately the bank will be influenced by matters across the pond. While the recent Republican tax reform bill is expected to be long-term positive for Barclays, the bank has announced a one-off, £1bn charge resulting from it. However, on a positive note recent market volatility may have already helped the bank’s key trading division.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), meanwhile, has also faced a tough time. A series of legacy issues, including the lawsuit against the infamous GRG restructuring unit and a long outstanding fine with the US Department of Justice over mortgages mis-selling, have taken the shine off an impressive share recovery from post-Brexit lows.

Analysts will look for RBS to round off a strong 2017, hoping that three quarters of continuous growth will finally end its nine years of annual losses. Further clarity on the outstanding DoJ settlement will also be welcomed.

Finally, Lloyds, the owner of the UK’s largest mortgage book, will be the UK bank most influenced by a more hawkish Bank of England. Lloyds will be able to charge higher interest on mortgages following rate hikes, however it could also have a detrimental knock-on effect by reducing demand from potential homeowners.

More immediately, Lloyds is set to announce a three-year strategic plan alongside its FY results, also announcing a further provision to cover the mis-selling of PPI, the scandal looking set to cost the bank £19bn in total. After a £1bn increase in provisions last year, Morgan Stanley estimates the latest provision could amount to £450m.

Although some, including Morgan Stanley, believe Lloyds may announce a special dividend of 1.5p on top of its 3p 2017 dividend, Credit Suisse instead believe a share buyback worth up to $1bn will be proposed. This follows a similar move by peer HSBC which announced a $2bn share buyback for 2017.

Over the page, we look at the technicals behind these UK banks. Found this report informative? Our research team sends similar publications daily on indices, commodities and other blue-chip equities. To discover more, sign up here.

Page: 04

Barclays (BARC)

Barclays is one of the most US-exposed of the UK Banks, which will see the bank announce a £1bn one-off tax charge. Also in focus will be the performance of its trading division after another tough year for investment banks across the world. Will recent market volatility have been enough to perk up its trading floors?

While Barclays shares had a torrid 2017, falling by 27% from February’s 18-month highs of 244p to November lows of 177p, a strong 2017 Santa rally helped shares to recover some losses. It has been more of the same in 2018, however, as shares retreated as much as 11.7% from January’s 6-month highs of 212p to lows of 187p.

Will the investment bank be able to provide enough bullish ammunition for investors to return to January highs? Or will the tax charge, further inadequate trading performance and the overhang of the SFO investigation weigh?

Will Barclays break out to 2017 highs of 244p (+23%) or fall back to 2017 lows of 177p (-11%)?
  • Shares have been narrowing between 190p-210p. Will they break down or break out?
  • Relative Strength Index (RSI) has bullishly crossed 50 and Stochastics have turned back from oversold
  • Momentum has turned positive for the first time since January after recovering from a 9-month low
  • Brokers are positively biased, with over 70% of brokers holding a 12-month target above current level
Broker Consensus: 44% Buy, 36% Hold, 20% Sell

Bullish: AlphaValue, Buy, Target 269p, +35% (8 Feb 18)

Average Target: 205.2p, +3.0% (15 Feb 18)

Bearish: Day by Day, Sell, Target 142.4p, -28% (15 Nov 17)

 

Pricing data sourced from Bloomberg on 15 February. Please contact us for a full, up to date rundown.

Page: 05

HSBC (HSBA)

HSBC is the most globally exposed UK Bank, with a focus on its home territory of Asia. The bank has a range of operations, including retail and investment banking divisions as well as a major foreign exchange department. Although the bank is headquartered in London, it has locations on every continent, which means it will be influenced by events across the world. Will this help it to benefit from global growth in 2017?

HSBC shares traded a 9-year high in January as hawkish central banks, US tax reform and hopes of increased global growth were met with investor enthusiasm. While shares retreated by up to 9.4% from those January highs to lows of 724p, HSBC shares remain in a steady uptrend since mid-2016.

Can HSBC produce positive results to return to 2018 highs or will it be another poorly-received release?

Will HSBC better 2018 highs of 800p (+5.4%)  or retreat to 2017 lows of 620p (-18%)?
  • Shares have retreated from 2018 highs, however have met 18-month rising lows support
  • RSI has bullishly crossed 50, while Stochastics have turned back from oversold
  • Momentum has turned positive after recovering from its lowest level in two years
  • Brokers are positively skewed, with 56% of brokers holding a 12-month target above current level
Broker Consensus: 34% Buy, 57% Hold, 9% Sell

Bullish: Jefferies, Buy, Target 920p, +21% (15 Jan 18)

Average Target: 758p, -0.1% (15 Feb 18)

Bearish: AlphaValue, Sell, Target 641p, -16% (8 Feb 18)

 

Pricing data sourced from Bloomberg on 15 February. Please contact us for a full, up to date rundown.

Page: 06

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY)

Lloyds has the UK’s biggest mortgage book, and therefore will likely be the institution most influenced by the Bank of England’s November 2017 rate hike. Lloyds will also be closely watched for announcements of further PPI provisions, a possible special dividend or share buyback, and the Scottish Widows £109bn fund withdrawal.

Lloyds shares have been trading in a range of 62p-71.5p since the early part of 2017 after recovering from post-Brexit lows of 47.2p. While shares have yet to break out from resistance, a trend of rising lows has proved supportive since mid to late-2017, supporting the shares at 66p after a 9% sell off from January highs.

Will a further PPI charge see shareholders react negatively to the full year results release? Or might the announcement of a special dividend or share buyback help to inspire fresh confidence in the shares?

Will Lloyds make fresh 3-year highs of 78p (+15%) or fall back to 2017 lows of 61.8p (-8.7%)?
  • Shares have retreated from 2018 highs, however found 5-month rising lows support at 66p
  • RSI has turned back from oversold, however Stochastics remain below the oversold mark
  • Momentum remains negative, however has recovered from its lowest level since the EU referendum
  • Brokers are very positive on LLOY, with over 80% forecasting the price will rise over the next 12 months
Broker Consensus: 57% Buy, 18% Hold, 25% Sell

Bullish: Jefferies, Buy, Target 91p, +34% (29 Jan 18)

Average Target: 72.9p, +9.2% (15 Feb 18)

Bearish: Goldman Sachs, Sell, Target 53p, -22% (5 Dec 17)

 

Pricing data sourced from Bloomberg on 15 February. Please contact us for a full, up to date rundown.

Page: 07

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

RBS remains a taxpayer-owned bank. Bailed out at the height of the financial crisis, it has yet to record an annual profit as ongoing legacy issues continue to blight the former world’s largest bank. Now a more streamlined, UK-focused financial institution, the bank has reported three consecutive quarters of profits in 2017.

The bank’s shares climbed to a 2-year high of 304p in late January before retreating over 10% in the following ten sessions to a low of 271p. While a period of consolidation has since taken place, full-year results have tended to be a hurdle in recent years.

Will the bank’s 2017’s results mark a decade of annual losses, prompting further weakness for RBS shares? Or will full-year results round off a positive year of reporting, helping shares return to highs traded earlier this year?

Will RBS break out to June 2015 highs of 370p (+33%)  or retreat to 2017 lows of 210p (-24%)?
  • Shares have broken down from 18-month rising lows support, but further support levels incoming
  • RSI has recovered from oversold, however remains stubbornly below 50
  • Stochastics remain oversold, while Momentum remains negative however is off worst levels
  • Brokers are positive on RBS, with 70% forecasting the price will rise over the next 12 months
Broker Consensus: 31% Buy, 54% Hold, 15% Sell

Bullish: Exane BNP Paribas, Outperform, Target 345p, +24% (8 Feb 18)

Average Target: 293p, +5.5% (15 Feb 18)

Bearish: Mediobanca, Underperform, Target 244p, -12% (22 Jan 18)

 

Pricing data sourced from Bloomberg on 15 February. Please contact us for a full, up to date rundown.

Page: 08

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CFDs: Like shares, but more flexible

While buying 14,182 shares in Lloyds Banking @ 70.51p requires an outlay of around £10,000 plus commission, the same exposure via a CFD requires about £500 plus commission (see right-hand box; margin + costs). If a trader invests in Lloyds Banking, 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 Lloyds Banking 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 3%/£300 (note that overnight financing costs will still apply). The remaining £9,700 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?

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Page: 09

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Posted 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago

Mr. G

the web site is so easy to use and Aymen my point of contact provides exactly the right level of intervention

Posted 1 year ago

Jyotish G

Very good info and continuous support from Aymeb

Posted 1 year ago

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