Barclays reports Q1 profits up 5.4 per cent

However share price drops as profit falls short of analysts' expectations.

The majority of the £1.82 billion profit, up 47 per cent for the same period last year, came from its investment banking arm Barclays Capital. However, analysts have said that the division made less profit than forecast, coming in at £1.47 billion.

"I am pleased with the strong growth in profits which we have delivered this quarter. Diversification of our business and risk, and good underlying performance, have combined to produce this result," said John Varley, Group Chief Executive of Barclays.

However Barclay shares fell on the FTSE today, although they have rallied throughout 2010 and have been up by over 22 per cent in the past three months. Retail banking was also up by 22 per cent to £238m, although this included a gain of £71m on the acquisition of Standard Life Bank. Global retail banking profit before tax decreased by 6 per cent to £403m. "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," Mr Varley added.

The banking group announced a first quarter dividend of 1 pence per share. Earnings per share were up 35 per cent to 9.3 pence.