NatWest 2022 earnings preview: Where next for the NWG share price?

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Josh Warner
By :  ,  Former Market Analyst

When will NatWest report 2022 earnings?

NatWest Group will release annual earnings for 2022 on Friday February 17. Management will hold a presentation at 0900 GMT on the same day.


NatWest 2022 earnings consensus

NatWest Group is forecast to report a 3% rise in full year attributable profit to £3.037 billion in 2022, according to consensus numbers from Bloomberg.


NatWest 2022 earnings preview

Income should be some 20% higher in 2022 at £12.8 billion thanks to higher interest rates boosting the amount made from its traditional banking activities and a strong performance from its investment banking division NatWest Markets.

Rising rates has also improved its net interest margin, which is forecast to average 2.8% over the full year compared to 2.4% in 2021. That should continue to climb this year and analysts believe it can hit 3.3%.

Return on tangible equity – or RoTE, a key measure of profitability for banks - continues to improve thanks to higher interest rates and a healthy loan book and is expected to climb to 11.3% in 2022 from 9.4% the year before. NatWest is currently aiming to deliver RoTE of 14% to 16% in 2023 and analysts think the bank will hit the middle of that range.

There is room for potential surprises when it comes to the outlook for 2023, especially from commentary on what the bank expects this year in terms of costs, as well as provisions that have to be put aside for potentially bad loans.

NatWest had proven fairly disciplined when it came to costs until it abandoned its guidance for expenses in the third quarter, warning it no longer expected them to be stable given inflationary pressures. Expenses should be down around 3% in 2022, but they will rise in 2023 as inflation remains persistent even if it is easing. Markets are currently pricing in a mild uptick in costs in 2023, so any signal that they could rise at a faster pace could be bearish for the stock.

Plus, consensus figures also show markets believe the cost of risk is greater than what NatWest is expecting in 2023, demonstrating they anticipate larger loan loss provisions and impairments may have to be booked. Provisions are set to drag down results by around £405 million in 2022 but markets think this could exceed £1.4 billion in 2023. NatWest said in the last quarter that it was yet to see any signs of distress from its customers. The ongoing withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland through Ulster Bank is also causing charges to be booked.


Where next for the NWG share price?

Barclays kicked off the earnings season for UK banks and experienced a heavy selloff after failing to impress the markets, and this has had a knock-on effect on other UK banks as investors fret that they will suffer the same fate. NatWest is down 2.3% today.

The uptrend that can be traced back to four months ago remains intact despite today’s heavy fall, but it could be vulnerable. We have seen markets be hesitant in recent sessions with the stock closing largely where it opened on several occasions over the past week, explaining why the Barclays results have weighed on the mind of the markets.

The 50-day moving average, which is currently aligned with the 2022-high at 284.4p, could provide a safety net should the supportive trendline fail. Any slip below here opens the door to a move back below 275p.

On the upside, the stock first needs to close today’s gap and recover above 303.3p. That would then allow it to pursue 309.9p, representing the highest level since May 2018. It can then bring 316p back into the crosshairs to target the high of that month. Notably, the 22 brokers covering the stock see much greater upside from current levels with the average target price sat at 379.70p.

The NatWest share price is still rising in an uptrend despite suffering a heavy fall today


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