Barclays Plc's investment bank results failed to match the lofty growth shown by many rivals, knocking its shares and taking the shine off a 47 pct rise in group quarterly pretax profit.
Barclays shares were down 5.2 percent at 343 pence by 4:10 a.m. ET on Friday, the biggest UK blue-chip faller <.FTSE>, mainly on disappointment at revenue growth in its Barclays Capital (BarCap) investment bank arm, analysts said.
It's not a bad quarter, it's just not the blowout numbers shown by some of the other banks, said Colin Morton, fund manager at Rensburg Fund Management. It has gone into the numbers with very high expectations, and BarCap has come in a bit light in terms of income, he said.
Barclays, Britain's second biggest bank, said pretax profit in the three months to the end of March jumped to 1.8 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) from a revised 1.2 billion a year ago (excluding profits from BGI, the asset management business which was sold last year), matching the average forecast from four analysts polled by Reuters.
Analysts said the growth was largely due to a drop in bad debts to 1.5 billion pounds, compared with 1.9 billion in the previous three months.
Earnings at BarCap, which accounted for four-fifths of group profits, jumped 62 percent to 1.5 billion pounds.
But that was mainly due to a drop in credit market writedowns and BarCap's income of 3.8 billion pounds fell well short of some analysts' expectations of near 5 billion, as it failed to benefit as much from strong fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) business as many rivals.
Rival banks such as Goldman Sachs , JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank had reported bumper quarterly earnings, potentially raising expectations too high.
BarCap President Jerry del Missier told Reuters there was upside potential as its expansion picks up pace this year, falling in between the record quarter a year ago and sluggish final quarter of 2009.
We look at this quarter as a baseline. It was a more normal operating environment than the fourth quarter of last year, but it was by no means a vintage quarter for markets either. There's definitely upside as businesses come online and we continue to see good environments in a number of markets, del Missier said.
The bank lowered its target for BarCap's costs/net income ratio to 60 to 65 percent from previous guidance of 65 to 75 percent, as investment in new businesses slows and revenue rises.
BarCap accrued about 1.4 billion pounds in bonuses for staff, in line with the 38 percent of income paid out last year, but will not decide its 2010 payouts until early next year.
Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said the update appears to be reminding investors that the road ahead will be bumpy.
One potential bump is pay for bankers, an issue which flared on Thursday night during a pre-election TV debate between the leaders of Britain's three main political parties. Each leader pledged to crack down on bank bonuses and tighten regulation of the industry.
The threat of more regulation and pressure on banks has heightened after the start of a fraud probe into Goldman Sachs.
Barclays holds its annual shareholder meeting later on Friday and corporate governance body Pirc has urged investors to oppose Barclays' potentially excessive executive pay awards, saying targets were insufficiently stretching.
Barclays did not take any direct government help, however, so does not have any government shareholding, unlike rivals RBS and Lloyds .
The bank followed Lloyds and other peers in reporting a fall in bad debts as Britain and other economies pull out of recession. It expects the trend to continue during the year.
The improvement that we have seen in impairment reflects the signs of economic recovery now evident in many of the markets in which we operate, Chief Executive John Varley said.
(Editing by David Cowell and David Holmes)