Results for 2014 will be with us on Monday, 23 February, but it comes at a time when the Geneva office of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) has been raided as part of an inquiry into alleged money laundering after claims emerged that HSBC had been helping wealthy customers avoid tax.
Overshadowed though the results might be, the Citys pundits actually have a pretty attractive picture painted for for HSBC over the next few years. With healthy single-digit rises in EPS predicted for three years in a row and a dividend yield that could reach 6.5% by 2016, there seems less and less chance of the much-feared Chinese slowdown having any real adverse effect.
In fact, Chinas economy is still motoring along at a growth rate of close to 7.5% per year, which is pretty much in line with the governments aim.
Still, investors will be fearing the possibility of hefty fines should any misdeeds prove to have been committed. But it is only one subsidiary, part of a worldwide company worth nearly 116bn.
HSBC shares are down 8% over 12 months, to 607p, as I write.
The recovery at RBS is coming along slowly but surely, and were on for a return to profit for 2014 with EPS of around 39p being guessed at. Q3 time brought in a third successive quarterly profit, with a pre-tax profit of 1.27bn booked the bank was still losing big money in the same quarter a year previously.
RBS also told us its balance sheet risk had been lowered further, and that its capital ratios were moving in the right direction in Decembers Bank of England stress tests, RBS scored well with its Q3 CET1 capital ratio of 10.8% and told us it is on target for CET1 capital ratio targets of 11% by end 2015 and at least 12% by end 2016.
Forecasts for 2015 suggest a 17% fall back in EPS and the year should bring in the first dividend since the crisis, albeit with a yield of only 0.5% there certainly wont be a 2014 dividend.
RBS shares are on a P/E of 12 based on 2015 forecasts, and that doesnt look especially attractive to me at this stage in its recovery but maybe well be pleasantly surprised when we get the results.
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