It was a tale of two banking stocks on the FTSE 100 today, as two of the UK's lenders finished the day bookending the bluechip index.
Leading the charge was Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which finished 4.8 per cent higher at 265.5p after its first quarter results smashed expectations, with profits jumping to £259m, following a loss of nearly £1bn in the same quarter last year.
However, at the bottom end of the index was Barclays, which posted figures showing profits more than doubled in its first quarter, but also showed its investment bank had put in an underwhelming performance, while it booked a hefty one-off charge on its Africa business. That dragged Barclays down 5.3 per cent, to 212.15p.
The FTSE 100 itself finished 0.3 per cent lower, at 7,204 points - although it did manage to edge up 0.8 per cent from Monday's open, after steep falls last week. Meanwhile, the pound rose 0.3 per cent against the dollar, to $1.2944, after US GDP growth disappointed (although UK GDP growth, also reported today, was no better). Its performance against the euro was less encouraging, edging up 0.07 per cent to €1.1876.
"What started off so well for stock markets has turned into a week of mixed fortunes, despite further evidence from earnings season that US firms are doing well," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
"The impending end of Trump’s first 100 days offers investors a very mixed scorecard. Stocks are up, but the dollar is barely flat, while the legislative programme has not even got started.
"[The first quarter] was the quarter of hope and expectation, but [the second] could be when the disappointment begins to set in."