Standard Chartered (SCBFF) stock fell Friday after it reported a larger-than-expected underlying loss for the fourth quarter and disappointed investors when it failed to reinstate its dividend for the full-year.
The emerging markets-focused lender missed declared a fourth quarter underlying loss of $359 million, against expectations for a loss of $29 million. It also reported higher costs and steeper impairments than the market had expected for the period.
For the full year Standard Chartered returned to profitability, following a record restructuring and loan impairment driven loss in 2015. Underlying pre-tax profit came in at $1.09 billion, against expectations for a print of $1.13 billion, while the group made a statutory profit of $409 million.
"We made good progress in 2016, cleaning up our balance sheet and fortifying our capital position ... our financial returns are not yet where they need to be and do not reflect the Group's earnings potential," said CEO Bill Winters.
Standard Chartered stock fell by more than 4% in London, to change hands at 713.9 pence, far outstripping the 0.56% loss for the Stoxx 600 Europe Banks Index.
"The turnaround of the profitability of the Group is at a relatively early stage and a number of economic and regulatory uncertainties remain. The Board recognises the importance of dividends to shareholders and will keep the matter under close review," the bank said in its statement.
Crucially, consensus had pencilled in a reinstatement of the dividend from Standard Chartered but investors were left disappointed after management said there will be no payout and sought to talk-down expectations of future dividend payments.
Analysts at Jefferies are also concerned about whether the lender can justify its current 0.8 times price to book valuation.
"To justify current valuations, STAN needs to be on a path to achieve at least $17bn of revenue in 2018. The Q4 16 exit rate was $14bn," said Joseph Dickerson.