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Barclays Unlikely to Reach 2020 Target on Coronavirus Concerns

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Coronavirus pandemic has led several banks to trim their financial goals and many are likely to face difficulty in achieving their 2020 targets. Global banking major, Barclays (BCS - Free Report) is one of the banks.

Last week, at the Morgan Stanley European Financials Conference (held virtually), Tushar Morzaria, chief financial officer, noted that Barclays is “very very unlikely” to reach its profitability targets for 2020.

During the fourth-quarter 2019 earnings conference call in February, Barclays had targeted to achieve return on tangible equity (ROTE) ratio of more than 10% this year. At that time, management had stated that global macroeconomic uncertainty and the low interest rate environment will likely make achieving the target a bit challenging.

Further, Morzaria said, “It’s going to be a tough year for earnings.” The company may have to cut bonuses and delay some of its investments to sustain growth.

Additionally, the bank will likely have to build provisions for virus-related disruptions to the U.K. economy. This is expected to be a major challenge for the company. Beside these, lower interest rates and the slowdown of the economy are big concerns.

Similar to Barclays, several other banks including Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LYG - Free Report) and Banco Santander SA (SAN - Free Report) , have provided dismal outlooks for the first quarter and 2020. On the other hand, UBS Group AG's (UBS - Free Report) financials are likely to have little impact from the coronavirus outbreak.

Nonetheless, a diversified business model is expected provide some support to Barclays’ top line, with a focus on trading and investment banking operation. Morzaria added, “In the first quarter of the year, it’s generally a good environment for trading and sales businesses, more market volatility, very high volume of activity.”

Notably, the coronavirus concerns have significantly dented investors’ confidence in the company’s prospects. Over the past month, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) bank on NYSE have lost 53.8% compared with the industry’s decline of 37.4%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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