Jefferies beats expectations

SHARES in Jefferies rallied by more than 20 per cent yesterday after the US investment bank posted better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings.

Chief executive Richard Handler said he had declined his annual bonus after volatile trading conditions and recent fears over the bank’s exposure to European sovereign debt wiped around half of its market value.

The bank, which saw fourth quarter profits drop by 23 per cent, said it cut its balance sheet by nearly a quarter.