Barclays shares plunge despite profits tripling

British bank dips on falling revenue and rising operating expenses

Barclays shares tanked on Friday despite its quarterly profit almost tripling in the first quarter of 2021.

The British investment bank and financial services firm’s net profit of £1.7bn ($2.3bn, €1.9bn) comfortably beat the £1.3bn predicted by analysts and was well above the £220m reported in the final quarter of 2020.

The bank enjoyed its best-ever quarter of equity trading on a comparable basis, with income rising by 65% to £3.6bn.

Hailing the results, CEO Jes Staley said: “While momentum in the consumer businesses, particularly card balances, will take time to build, Barclays secured significant new growth opportunities in Q1.”

Despite this, Barclays traded down 7.2% by mid-afternoon at 175.13 pence.

The correction can be attributed in part to the bank’s somewhat cautious outlook. It warned in a statement: “Headwinds to income in Barclays UK are expected to persist in 2021, driven by the subdued demand for unsecured lending.”

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Signs of ongoing headwinds could also be found in the fact that the firm’s UK lending increased by only 0.1% on the previous quarter, while its CET 1 ratio, a measure of a bank’s solvency, stood 0.5% lower at 14.6% .

On a year-on-year basis, Barclays saw revenues fall by £400m to £5.9bn, while operating expenses rose by £200m to £3.5bn.

Despite a rocky end to the week’s trading, the bank nonetheless stood almost 22% above its 2021 starting level.

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