London headquartered HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, recently published its full-year report revealing several forecast misses primarily due to a challenging fourth quarter.
The bank’s pre-tax profit for 2018 stood at $19.89 billion, 15.9% higher than the previous year, versus a forecast of a 23.8% jump to $21.26 billion. Reported revenue was 4.5% higher than 2017 to $53.78 billion versus a forecast of 6.28% higher to $54.674 billion.
Other financial metrics include: Net interest margin, a measure of lending profitability, stood at 1.66% as of December 31, 2018 – higher than the 1.63% seen in 2017; earnings per share for 2018 was $0.63 compared to $0.48 in 2017; and common equity tier 1 ratio — a proportion of the bank's core capital to assets — as on December 31 2018 stood at 14 % compared to 14.5% at end-2017. The bank’s Hong Kong listed shares also fell by 2% on Tuesday. It also missed its positive revenue ‘jaws’ target for 2018 recorded at minus 1.2%.
Despite these results, the bank’s CFO is satisfied, as the last quarter was particularly challenging which led to trading revenue losses in many banking groups. He is optimistic for 2019 as the bank is well-prepared for any outcome related to Brexit, and is yet to experience any dramatic slowdown in its business in China as a result of trade disputes between Washington and Beijing. However, wealth management strategists consider exactly these factors to become headwinds for the bank ahead in the market.