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Bears bite Barclays badly

Barclays Bank's shares suffered a real mauling in the last hour of trading in London today, to end 25% down on the day and 40% down on the week.

What's going on?

Well, apart from a sector badly hit by bad news, as discussed in the last blog, Barclays has had a particularly rotten week.

On Tuesday, they announced 2,100 job cuts in the investment and wealth management areas of the bank, followed by a further 2,500 cuts in the commercial and retail banking areas a day later.

WHY DIDN'T THEY ANNOUNCE THESE CUTS ALL IN ONE GO?

They are also the bank that has had investments from Sovereign Wealth Funds in Asia and the Middle East, whilst snubbing the UK Government's bailout last October.

WHERE WILL THEY GET FUNDING NEXT TIME THEY NEED CAPITAL?

Today was also the day that short selling returned, having been banned after the run on HBOS last September.

ARE BARCLAYS THE ONLY UK BANK STOCK WORTH SHORTING IN THE BANKING WORLD TODAY?

No, all banks have had some downside today, but Barclays is the hottest target as they are one of the few UK banks that are not nationalised.

Meanwhile, I think the real issue is that Barclays has started to show internal cracks externally with the departure of their Deputy Chairman, Sir Nigel Rudd, on Tuesday.

Why did he go?

Because, some claim, Sir Nigel thinks that John Varley (CEO) is papering over the fissures and not declaring enough write-downs on toxic debts and reserving accordingly. 

Boardroom battles, poor press announcements, difficult relations with investors and regulators, provide a potent mixture to ensure that the bears attack which, with that 25% drop in the last hour of Friday's trading, they did en masse.

Watch this space as Barclays, even though they are reporting pre-tax profits will be well ahead of analyst's estimates of £5.3 billion, is looking more and more like this poor chap in Alaska last December

Polar1

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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