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There is no growth in the dividend as 2018 numbers come in short of expectations
Thursday 21 Feb 2019 Author: Tom Sieber

Banking giant HSBC (HSBA) may be maintaining its dividend despite sub-par 2018 results but does the admittedly generous yield make up for this lacklustre showing?

Both revenue and profit were around $1bn short of expectations in 2018 thanks to a tough end to the year linked to global trade concerns, weak financial markets and rising impairments.

A 6% yield based on consensus forecasts may look attractive but there appears to be limited appetite to increase dividends.

Jefferies analysts Joseph Dickerson and Aqil Taiyeb reveal their disappointment on this score by saying: ‘Prospects for enhanced capital repatriation against slower growth prospects have formed the key part of our constructive stance on this name and this aspect of our thesis is clearly not playing out.’

One area in which the firm’s struggles really show up is its jaws – comparing growth trends in income and operating expenses. Despite targeting a positive figure by the end of 2018 this came in at -1.2% for the year.

A renewed commitment to achieving positive jaws in 2019 may not carry much water with investors given the failure to deliver last year.

Chief executive John Flint may only have been at the helm for a year, but he may start to come under pressure unless the bank’s performance improves.

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