As the outlook for earnings has significantly deteriorated and companies conservatively manage balance sheets, the outlook for dividends has been materially impacted. Since the middle of February, over 30% of companies in the ASX200 have deferred, cancelled, suspended, or revised dividends.
Both KPMG and Deloitte have examined the interim reports from the big four and see them better placed for the immediate future than it might seem from the results which all saw a surge in bad debt provisioning, loan impairments and provisions for compensation.
National Bank's quarterly update highlighted some positive themes, the broker notes, continuing on from Commonwealth Bank's ((CBA)) result earlier in the week. Net interest margin increased slightly on mortgage repricing, although the broker sees offsetting actions required ahead to counter a lower cash rate. Asset quality is sound and capital has increased.
National Australia Bank will leave its standard variable home loan unchanged at 5.24%. Morgan Stanley believes the decision suggests scrutiny of conduct and competition is affecting management's decision-making and will weigh on profitability and the performance of the share price.
Upon further analysis, Morgan Stanley believes management can deliver on its cost targets while keeping loan loss rates below peers in Australia. However, the analysts also see earnings risks and this leads to the conclusion that "too much optimism" is surrounding the share price.