Mis-selling scandals, rate fixing, the dark pool nightmare, banker bonus bust-ups, plunging investment bank profits and the stumbling global recovery have all dragged it down.
The scandals will continue in 2015, but is Barclays worth investing in anyway?
Ride The Recovery
At some point, Barclays will escape the toxic swamp it has plunged into, and the share price will fly. I wrote thatwe had hit the ideal buying point in July, withthe share price at209p.
It is up 15% since then to 242p, but isstill well below its 52-week high of 297p. But that suggests to me that despite its recent gains, there is scope for sentiment to sweep it higher.
Trouble is, sentiment is in short supply right now. Even recent news that UK GDP is up 3% over the past 12 months failed to excite markets, worryingly, given that most people expect slippage next year.
A buoyant housing market would help, so its worrying that house purchase approvals fell 16% year-on-year in October, according to new figures from the British Bankers Association.
With an election looming, the property slowdown could continue next year.
Investment Banking Is Back
But theres also good news out there, with Goldman Sachs recently upgrading Barclays from neutral to buy (target price 300p), after the Bank of England set surprisingly modest capital requirements. With the lowest leverage ratio, Barclays was considered most at risk from tough action.
There has been some goodnews at last for its retrenching investment banking division, withBarclays recently nowplanning to increase its staff in North Africa and the Middle East by up to 20%.
The Price Is Right
The Forex, PPI and dark pool scandals will rumble on in 2015, with severe penalties sucking money out of Barclays. So brace yourself for that.
On the plus side, Barclaysearnings per share are forecast to rise a healthy 26% in 2015. The bankis on a forecast price/earnings ratio of just 9.1 for Christmas next year. By then, it could yield 4%, as the dividend recovery continues.
I still think that Barclays is one of the biggest bargains on the FTSE 100. It may not make you rich in 2015, but if you buy now and hold for the long term, the richeswill eventually flow.
Or perhaps you think that Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC Holdings or Royal Bank of Scotland arebetter placed to thrive in 2015?
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Harvey Jones 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.