Adjusted profits at UK lender Barclays came in well above expectations in the first quarter of 2012, but the company gave a cautious outlook owing to 'continued challenging market conditions'.
Adjusted pre-tax jumped 22% from £2,004m registered in the first three month of 2011 to £2,445m this year. Consensus estimates were for similar level of profit as the year before.
Adjusted results exclude the impact of £2,620m own credit reversal (2011: £351m), £300m in provisions for PPI redress (2011: nil) and any gains on acquisitions and disposals (2012: nil, 2011: £2m).
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On a statutory basis which includes these one-offs, the bank reported a pre-tax loss of £475m, compared with a profit of £1,655m last year.
Total income excluding own credit rose to £8,138m, 5% higher than the first quarter of 2011 and ahead of the £7,959m consensus forecast.
Meanwhile, income at the Investment Bank (known previously as Barclays Capital) increased by 3% year-on-year to £3,464m, ahead of consensus estimates of £3,360m.
Adjusted return on equity increased from 10.2% to 12.2%, while the Core Tier 1 ratio dipped slightly from 11% at the end of 2011 to 10.9%. The first-quarter dividend was maintained at 1p per share.
"Barclaysfirst quarter resultsare an encouraging start to the year and demonstrate continued progress across our execution priorities," said Chief Executive Bob Diamond.
Second quarter outlook deteriorating
While the first-quarter results were broadly ahead of expectations, the outlook for the second quarter and the rest of the fiscal year does not look as bright. As broker Nomura pointed out this morning, the outlook statements by Barclays and Deutsche Bank (which also released results this morning) "highlight the uncertainty in the operating environment with April trends looking weaker."
Barclays said that while the first-quarter performance was "encouraging", "the continued challenging market conditions mean it is too early to establish the trend for the year".
According to a Nomura research note this morning, "The share price is likely to respond to expectations of future trends, rather than those of Q1; market sentiment has weakened since the first quarter and considerable macro uncertainties remain". The broker maintained a 'neutral' rating on the stock.
After an initial strong rise in early trading on Thursday, shares pared gains by mid-morning with the stock up just 0.36% at 211.75p by 09:53.
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