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HSBC Holdings plc (HBC): Can It Outperform JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chase?

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LONDON — If you’re interested in building a profitable, diversified portfolio, then you will often need to compare similar companies when choosing which share to buy next. These comparisons aren’t always as easy as they sound, so in this series, I’m going to compare some of the best-known names from the FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and the U.S. stock market.
I’m going to use three key criteria — value, income, and growth — to compare companies to their sector peers. I’ve included some U.S. shares, as these provide U.K. investors with access to some of the world’s largest and most successful companies. Although there are some tax implications to holding U.S. shares in a U.K. dealing account, they are pretty straightforward and — I feel — are outweighed by the investing potential of the American market.
Today, I’m going to take a look at British-Asian banking giant HSBC Holdings plc (ADR) (NYSE:HBC) and America’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM).
JPMorgan Chase & Co.

1. Value
The easiest way to lose money on shares is to pay too much for them — so, which share looks like a better value, HSBC Holdings plc (ADR) (NYSE:HBC), or JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)?

Value HSBC JPMorgan
Current price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) 14.5 9.2
Forecast P/E 10.9 8.8
Price-to-book ratio (P/B) 1.1 0.9
Price-to-sales ratio (P/S) 2.8 1.9

On the face of it, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) looks better value than HSBC Holdings plc (ADR) (NYSE:HBC), with a below-average P/E ratio and a price to book (P/B) ratio below one, indicating that the company’s theoretical breakup value may be greater than its market capitalization. In contrast, HSBC’s current P/E and P/B ratios suggest it is fully valued at present.

2. Income
With low interest rates set to continue for the foreseeable future, dividends have become one of the most popular ways of generating an investment income. How do HSBC Holdings plc (ADR) (NYSE:HBC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) compare in terms of income?

Value HSBC JPMorgan
Current dividend yield 4.3% 2.5%
5-year average historical yield 4.5% 2.1%
5-year dividend average growth rate -11% -4.1%
2013 forecast yield 4.7% 2.9%

Most U.K. stocks offer a higher yield than their American counterparts, and HSBC Holdings plc (ADR) (NYSE:HBC) is no exception, with a five-year average yield that is more than twice that of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). Although that gap is closing as the American banking sector recovers from the financial crisis, HSBC’s 4.7% forecast yield is more than 50% higher than JPMorgan’s forecast yield of 2.9%.

3. Growth
Even if your main interest is value or income investing, you do need to consider growth. At the very least, a company needs to deliver growth in line with inflation — and realistically, most successful companies need to grow ahead of inflation if they are to protect their market share and profit margins.

How do HSBC and JPMorgan shape up in terms of growth?

Value HSBC JPMorgan
5-year earnings-per-share growth rate -12.9% -4.7%
5-year revenue growth rate -9.3% 3.7%
5-year share price return -17.8% 11.1%

JPMorgan looks the stronger of the two banks in terms of recent growth, but last year saw both banks take knocks to their previously untarnished reputations. In JPMorgan’s case, London-based rogue trader Bruno Iksil — who became known as the London Whale — triggered a $5.8 billion loss for the U.S. bank. Meanwhile, HSBC set a new record for banking fines when it agreed to pay out $1.9 billion to U.S. and U.K. regulators to settle money laundering charges relating to the Mexican drugs trade.

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