Standard Chartered shares jump in London after posting strong first quarter results

StanChart reports US$589 million in pretax profit for first quarter while senior management conveys confidence in future business prospects

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 April, 2016, 9:34pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 April, 2016, 9:34pm

Standard Chartered shares jumped over 10 per cent in London Tuesday night after the bank posted stronger results for the first quarter as senior management conveyed confidence in future business.

The London-based bank posted statutory pretax profit of US$589 million for the three months ended March 31, compared with a US$4.05 billion pre-tax loss for the fourth quarter in 2015.

“We have made good progress in all our strategic objectives and we expect it to continue,” chief executive officer Bill Winters said.

The shares were traded at 588.40 pence (HK$66.36) as of 8.23pm Hong Kong time, up 13.02 per cent from a day earlier. Its shares have jumped 52 per cent since hitting a more than three-year low in February.

Winters said the environment for the bank remains very adverse, but “it certainly feels better than it did in January and February”.

He reiterated that China is still the main driver of the bank’s business.

“We look at China very carefully. The slowdown is always there but China is taking appropriate measures,” Winters said, adding that the bank is watching the strong link between China’s economy and commodities prices.

The slowdown is always there but China is taking appropriate measures
Bill Winters, Standard Chartered CEO

“We are in exceptionally good shape in the China market,” he said.

Standard Chartered, the first of the major UK-based banks to report first quarter earnings, said its operating income for the first quarter this year slid 24 per cent year on year, to US$3.35 billion, but was up 3 per cent from the earlier quarter.

Impairment losses stood at US$471 million in the first quarter, almost flat from a year ago and dropped sharply from US$1.13 billion for the fourth quarter in 2015.

The bank is still progressing in auctions or direct negotiations with parties to unload unwanted assets, finance director Andy Halford said.

In response to the publication of the Panama Papers, Winters said the bank has viewed its operations, and had not found anything coming out of the Panama Papers.

“We are looking forward to enjoying the quarters and years to come,” Winters said, adding that the management felt good about medium and long-term growth from the capital and liquidity perspective.