Lloyds has spent the last few years slimming itself down, increasing its capital cushion and reducing exposure to risky assets. As a result, investors have pushed the banks shares higher. Since the beginning of 2012, Lloyds share price has nearly doubled.
Still, Lloyds recovery is not over yet and there are three main risks ahead thatcould derail the banks return to health.
Lloyds management has stated that the bank is looking to restart dividend payments to shareholders, after clearance from regulators, during the second half of this year. Theres no doubt that a resumption of dividends will be a landmark for Lloyds. However, if the bank fails to get the go ahead from regulators, investors could panic.
Indeed, its likely that Lloyds will only be allowed to restart dividend payments if the bank passes the Bank of Englands stress tests, the results of which are set to be released later this year. If the Bank of England, and its regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, stop Lloyds from initiating a dividend, there could be something amiss within Lloyds balance sheet.
In the worst case scenario, Lloyds could be forced to raise more capital.
Its hard to forget that Lloyds largest shareholder is in fact the government. The government owns around 25% of Lloyds andany one-off sale could produce a sizeable drag on the banks share price.
Whats more, with such a large shareholding, the government has an ongoing influence at the bank. As weve seen atRBS,politics and banking dont mix and the outcome is rarely beneficial to any shareholders.
Lloyds has been working hard to reduce its international footprint over the last few years. In particular, the bank is now active within less than 20 countries around the world, which makes Lloyds a UK focused bank.
Unfortunately, as Lloyds now has very little international exposure, the bank is dependent upon the success of the UK economy. Luckily, the UK economy is going from strength to strength right now but this growth cant continue forever.
Further, as one of the UKs largest mortgage lenders, Lloyds is extremely exposed to the state of the UK property market. Once again, the UK property market is booming right now but any slowdown will hurt Lloyds more than most.
How to value
Only you can decided if Lloyds fits in your portfolio and Id strongly suggest you look a little closer at the company before making any trading decision.
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Rupert Hargreaves has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don’t all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.