News & Analysis

FTSE frenzy - Massive bank profits and the 7000 indices bonanza

Andrew Saks, Thursday, 29 April 2021

This week has certainly put a smile on the face of followers of the FTSE 100 Index, the prestigious listing of the shares of some of Britain's most investible publicly listed companies.

As if last week's euphoria among market participants as the FTSE 100 reached the lofty heights of 6900 a few times was not long-lived enough, this week it has gone even further despite the nervousness caused by the sudden change in the reality between projected fortunes and actual losses of some of the world's largest Tier 1 banks after the ill-judged Archegos hedge fund debacle.

Whilst Credit Suisse, Nomura et al lick their wounds and whilst their risk managers explain the rubble and ashes left behind by the enormous liquidity-threatening dent that the Archegos fiasco has made on their balance sheets, other British banks are storming ahead which, given the current climate is quite astonishing.

The 'magic money tree' championed by the government's left-leaning Bounce Back Loan efforts is now dry and businesses that have been subjected to forced closures for over a year are now expected to begin making repayments to the banks, many of which may default, if they haven't already become insolvent.

Therefore, perhaps fortunes may change when the cost of this underwriting-free lending to businesses with no revenue is counted, however right now, in the last month before these loans are called in, banks have absolutely made hay in the first quarter of 2021, bolstering the FTSE 100's stellar performance.

Huge earnings from some of the large tech firms have driven this along with some very distinct confidence in bank revenues, NatWest being a case in point with a massive 82% jump in Q1 earnings!

As it stands today, Standard Chartered represents the highest increase in stock price in the leading index, up 7% or 34.6p to 528.4p.

Perhaps rather surprisingly, given the drive (get it!) toward electric cars and renewable energy, along with last year's negative oil value, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSA) is up 1.09% or 15p at 1397.2p after it made a good start to the year, boosted by rising oil prices.

It appears that the Indian subcontinent and surrounding regions in central and eastern Asia have increased their consumption of petrochemical products compared to the lower use in the West, therefore given the larger population of the Eastern Hemisphere and its industrious commercial and social nature, perhaps this increase is unsurprising.

Either way, it is absolutely clear that the FTSE 100's lofty position right now could go either way, hence those close to the action sitting on the edge of their seats!

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