Standard Chartered is already running a $1 billion buyback and expected to pay out $1.2 billion in dividends across this year and next, but chief executive Bill Winters is now targeting total cash returns to the bank’s shareholders in excess of $5 billion by the end of 2024 – that is around a fifth of the company’s current market capitalisation.
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “The shares rallied Asia after the release of the figures, despite ongoing worries over US regional banks after another collapse in First Republic’s share price and wider macroeconomic concerns, but if anything, right now, Standard Chartered is enjoying a macro tailwind thanks to the reopening of China and Hong Kong after three years of lockdowns.
“Asia generated 80% of first-quarter pre-tax profits and earnings from the region jumped by two-thirds year-on-year to drive a 23% increase in headline earnings.
“Underlying pre-tax income of $1,706 million also handily beat the consensus forecast of $1,470 million, helped by three factors – higher revenues, thanks to increased net interest margins and trading from financial markets; efficiencies which meant that costs rose more slowly than income; and very low credit losses.”
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