Belfast Telegraph

Lloyds tipped for another healthy rise in its profits

By Ravender Sembhy

Lloyds Banking Group is on track to post another healthy rise in profits tomorrow after a solid first quarter.

Analysts at UBS are pencilling in a 9% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £2.3bn for the three months to March 31 and bottom line profits up 40% at £1.8bn.

But boss Antonio Horta-Osorio will be looked to for his views on the impact of an expected rise in interest rates - something of a double-edged sword for retail banks.

The Bank of England is expected to increase rates from 0.5% to 0.75% in May, potentially with another hike later this year to bring inflation back to target.

While higher interest rates mean higher retail profit margins for lenders like Lloyds, it may also dampen the housing market and demand for mortgages.

The figures will also be eyed closely for any further cash set aside for the payment protection insurance (PPI) saga, in particular following Clydesdale and Yorkshire banking group CYBG's recent move to put by an extra £350m following a recent surge in claims ahead of the complaints deadline.

But with Lloyds having only just added £600m for the mis-selling scandal for the previous quarter - taking its overall bill to an eye-watering £18.7bn - it is thought unlikely another hefty hit will be revealed.

The figures also come just a week after its latest jobs cull, with 1,230 roles axed under plans to shut 49 branches nationwide.

It pledged to create 925 roles elsewhere in the business, saying the net reduction was 305, as it focuses on investment in technology and digital banking under its new three-year strategy.

Pre-tax profits at Barclays, meanwhile, are set to come in broadly flat at £1.63bn when it reports first quarter figures on Thursday.

However, City analysts expect it to record a post tax loss of £500m after factoring in a two billion US dollar (£1.4bn) settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) earlier this year.

The settlement related to the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

Graham Spooner, Investment Research Analyst at The Share Centre, said: "Results from the group have continued to be a bit of a mixed bag.

"Investors will be looking for more news on the group's restructuring and on the performance of the still important investment banking division.

"They will also be hoping for no more nasty surprises relating to regulatory investigations. As ever the outlook for the year ahead will be important."

Belfast Telegraph