The FTSE 100s two Asia-focused banks had already been hit hard by the slowdown in Chinese growth before plummeting oil prices started depressingthe entire index.
The overall result has been a plunge to a new 52-week low for Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) on 16 December, of 883.9p. That puts shareholders on a loss of 31% over the past year, with the bulk of the drop coming in the past three months.
Standard Chartered has problems of its own, of course, with its South Korean operations performing badly. Its really not clear ifthe current board has a proper grip on the problems, and I cant help feeling therell need to be a management shakeup of some sort before confidence will return.
Still, despite its woes, Standard Chartered is returning to favour amongst City analysts, whose forecasts have been steadying in recent months. The current consensus of 105p earnings per share (EPS) for this year followed by 112p next puts the shares on miserly P/E multiples of 8.6 and 8 for the two years, and the share price fall has left the forecast (and twice-covered) dividends indicatingyields of 5.8% and 5.9%.
Theres clearly still a lot of fear built into the Standard Chartered share price.
A better choice?
Over at HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA), the punters are more bullish. Though theres a narrow net Buy rating out for Standard Chartered, theres a very upbeat Strong Buy contingent at HSBC.
HSBCs share price hasnt fallen as far, with a relatively modest drop of 7% over 12 months to 594p, and although it came very close this week the share price hasnt quite retreated toits 52-week low from the summer.
The fall does still leave HSBCshares on a P/E for December 2014 of 10.7, with 10.1 on the cards for 2015, and those are higher ratings than its regional rival but theyre still low compared to the long-term FTSE average of around 14.
Value looks good
At around 1.7 times, HSBCs dividend cover isnt quite as robust as Standard Chartereds, but wed still see yields of 5.4% and 5.7% for this year and next should forecasts come to pass. And HSBCs valuation is rivalling Barclays for apparent cheapness Barclays has better growth forecast, but HSBC compensates with bigger dividends.
In the current climate there are still risks with these two banks, but theyre both looking oversold to me.
I expect a fewwould-be millionairesare putting somemoney into Standard Chartered and HSBC Holdings in the expectation of a recovery in 2015.
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