Friday 29 July 2016 11:14 am

Here’s why Barclays’ share price is up while its profits are down

Barclays' share price right now is a little bit confusing.

Despite reporting a 21 per cent slump in its pre-tax profits for the first half of 2016, the banking giant's shares are up 6.9 per cent – outpacing the rest of the FTSE 100 by a long shot. 

Digging deeper into the figure, it's easy to spot that the bank's "non-core" business was responsible for dragging down the bottom line. In this section of the business, losses ballooned to £1.9bn, up from £745m in the first half of 2015.

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Group chief executive James 'Jes' Staley also promised in his statement that shedding the non-core business as soon as possible remained a key priority. 

"Barclays is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character at the moment, but Doctor Jekyll is starting to gain more control, as all the grisly bits of the bank get wound down," explained Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"The new boss, Jes Staley, seems determined to get on with the task of getting rid of the bad bank sooner rather than later. If and when Barclays gets rid of its non-core businesses it should start to look more like an upstanding citizen of the banking sector, but that is still going to take until 2017 at least, a decade after the banking crisis kicked off."

Gary Greenwood, banks and speciality lenders at Shore Capital, added in a note: "The general tone of the statement reads positively, in our view, noting that management has made 'accelerating progress' against its strategy including exiting non-core operations, which it remains committed to closing by the end of the year."

However, Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index, warned the good times on the stock market may not be here to stay. 

"Slight dizziness among investors from the mental gymnastics required to decide if Barclays truly 'won' in the first half, or not, would be understandable," said Odeluga. 

"Once it wears off, today's stock jump, which still leaves the shares 50 per cent lower than prices in early August 2015, will moderate, because while the core performance has protected an – already reduced – dividend outlook this time, a slower pace of core growth is all but assured for the full-year, and quarters beyond."