Why I’m Bullish On Standard Chartered PLC, HSBC Holdings plc, Standard Life Plc And RSA Insurance Group plc

Standard Chartered

Having sailed through the financial crisis while many of its banking peers were on their knees, Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) is now struggling to post bottom-line growth. In fact, a number of profit warnings have left the bank apparently searching for a new CEO after regulatory challenges and disappointing performance have caused market sentiment to wane.

Still, the Asia-focused bank is expected to increase its bottom line by an impressive 11% next year and, looking further ahead, it still has tremendous growth potential as a result of its significant exposure to fast-growing economies. As such, and while its short-term future could be somewhat volatile, its longer-term prospects appear to be very bright.


One of the most appealing aspects of investing in HSBC (LSE: HSBA) (NYSE: HSBC.US) at the present time is its focus on cost cutting. This has the potential to significantly boost the bank’s bottom line and, while investor sentiment is at a low ebb following allegations that HSBC helped clients to evade tax, now could be a great time to buy a slice of it.

Certainly, the changes being made to the bank’s structure and operations will take time but, in the meantime, investors are being rewarded for their patience with a dividend yield of 5.9% which, while interest rates are so low, could cause investor sentiment to rebound and send the bank’s share price much higher.

Standard Life

It’s rare to find a stock that offers excellent growth prospects, which trades at a great price, and comes with a top notch yield. However, Standard Life (LSE: SL) appears to do just that. For example, it is forecast to increase its bottom line by an impressive 19% in the current year, followed by 18% next year. And, despite having such strong growth prospects, it trades on a price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 0.7, which indicates that it offers growth at a very reasonable price.

Furthermore, Standard Life also has a very enticing yield, too. It currently pays out 4.4% as a dividend and, with dividends per share expected to grow by 7.3% next year, it offers a great real-terms increase in income. As such, it seems to be worth buying right now.


It’s been a difficult few years for RSA (LSE: RSA), with an accounting scandal and disappointing profitability hurting investor sentiment in the stock. And, having fallen by 10% in the last year alone, RSA now offers superb value for money.

For example, RSA trades on a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of just 12.5, which is considerably lower than many of its sector peers and, with its bottom line set to increase by 8% next year, it could be on the road to recovery.

Furthermore, with RSA having a forward dividend yield of 4.9%, it could prove to be a highly appealing income stock, which may help to boost investor sentiment and push its share price northwards.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of HSBC Holdings, RSA Insurance Group, Standard Chartered and Standard Life. The Motley Fool UK has recommended HSBC Holdings. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.