Another day, another big bank reports its numbers – this time, it's Barclays' turn.
Shares in the the lender went up by more than three per cent after it reported pre-tax profits almost tripled last year, growing by a massive 182 per cent to hit £3.2bn – but the bank still missed expectations.
Here's how the analysts reacted:
"Lower PPI costs and currency tailwinds have helped boost profits at Barclays, while good progress has been made in winding down the bad bank that has been holding the group back," said Hargreaves Lansdown's Laith Khalaf.
"The performance of Barclays’ core UK and international divisions was somewhat underwhelming though, with underlying profits actually falling back slightly.
Overall Barclays is in better shape than it was, and the accelerated timetable for the run-down of its non-core assets will be received positively by the market. However once the bad bank is consigned to the history books, there will be nothing for management to hide behind if the core business is not delivering.
Enough for investors
"The company posted figures closer to the Lloyds than HSBC (and likely RBS) end of things – full year pre-tax profit nearly trebled to £3bn, thanks to the fact that its conduct charges more than fell to more than third of what they were in 2015, from £4.4bn to £1.4bn," said Connor Campbell at Spreadex.
"Elsewhere Barclays’ performance wasn’t quite so perky, with revenue dropping three per cent to £21.5bn and dividends slipping from 6.5p to 3p; however the surge in profit was enough for investors, who sent the bank 3.3 per cent higher to a fresh 15 month high."
Shore Capital recently moved the bank from a "buy" to a "hold" recommendation and after this morning's results analyst Gary Greenwood said: "Barclays’ shares have increased by 85 per cent since reaching a post-EU referendum low of 127p as the UK economy has held up better than expected in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum while, more recently, optimism around the outlook for US economic growth and regulatory risk has improved following Donald Trump’s victory in the US election.
"However, with the shares currently trading at a slight premium to our last published fair value estimate of 225p, we re-iterate our neutral stance."
Sting in the tail
Michael Hewson at CMC Markets noted that Barclays was helped by lower litigation and misconduct charges, which were reduced to £1.36bn, but warned the bank "has yet to settle with US authorities after rejecting an offer to settle a mis-selling claim for mortgage backed securities at the end of last year, which could provide a sting in the tail later this year".
"This is because Deutsche and Credit Suisse settled for $7.2bn and $5.3bn respectively, which might suggest that any potential future settlement is likely to be of a similarly high amount," he added.