Britain's top banks are set for one of their worst first-quarter earnings seasons since the financial crisis, adding to their struggle to win over investors against a backdrop of misconduct charges, a weak economic outlook and uncertainty over Brexit. Jo Webster reports.
Britain's top banks are set for one of their worst first-quarter earnings seasons since the financial crisis. Most analysts bracing for the 'big five' to post ugly results... After collectively seeing their shares fall about 11 percent this year. (SOUNDBITE) (English): CHARLES STANLEY, CHIEF ECONOMIST, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, SAYING: "The operating environment over the course of the first quarter of 2016 has been very very awkward, banks have been mired in the misspelling of product protection insurance, and that has had an adverse effect as well. And then of course there is the impact of tighter standards associated with the international agreements." Brexit fears are also looming, with the odds in that vote moving sharply in favour of staying in the EU. After Barack Obama warned that Britain would be "at the back of a queue" for a new trade deal with the States if it left the bloc. Even so, uncertainty over the outcome is weighing heavily. With most banks keeping relatively quiet on the debate in their annual reports. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS UK BANKING CORRESPONDENT LAWRENCE WHITE, SAYING: "Investors just don't want to touch bank stocks until the vote has happened on June 23rd because they are concerned about, if the UK were to exit the EU that would be bad for the economy and therefore bad for banks. So they'd rather wait and see." Major U.S. peers have already set the tone for a dismal quarter. Goldman Sachs posting plunging profits last week, as market volatility hit its bond trading and investment banking businesses. On Tuesday, Standard Chartered will be the first UK lender to face the music. Just two months after announcing its first annual loss in 26 years. It's likely to set the tone for a very bleak 2016.