>Banks and investment firms have rebounded fastest since March 2009 lows


Chart of the day: Barclays and Lloyds soar since lows

Kit Chellel

18 Feb 2011


How financial firms in the FTSE100 have performed since the lowest point of the crisis
Two weeks from today is the second anniversary of one of the darkest moments of the financial crisis, when the FTSE 100 fell to a new low and Barclays shares were going for as little as 81p.
On that day, March 3, 2009, the 100 largest companies in the UK were worth less than they were when Tony Blair was elected in 1997.
The FTSE 100 has not hit such depths since, and an equities rally over the past few months has seen the index recover to somewhere near two-year highs.
Figures compiled by Financial News show that banks and investment firms have rebounded fastest, albeit from a lower level.
An investor who bought shares in the 10 financial firms (excluding insurers) currently in the FTSE 100 back in March 2009, would have seen a return of 149% in those two years, based on prices on Thursday morning.
This compares to an average of 73% across the FTSE 100 index.
An investor who backed Barclays would have done even better. The bank, which avoided a government bailout by tapping up Middle Eastern oil money, has risen a staggering 311% in the same period.
Lloyds is up 205% and private equity group 3i 182%.
The worst performer was investment group Alliance Trust whose shares rose 58.8%, which is below the FTSE average.
Second from bottom among the financial firms was Man Group which has been beset by problems since the crash. The listed hedge fund has seen half its assets under management pulled out by investors since the start of the crisis. Despite this, its shares have still gained 92 per cent between March 2008 and now.
The share gains achieved by banks are all the more impressive given that Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS all carried out multi-billion pound share issues to recapitalise following the crisis, diluting the value of stock.
The FTSE 100 index closed at 6087.38 yesterday, helped by strong performance from Lloyds TSB (up 2.9%) and RBS (up 3.8%). However the index remains some way below the pre-crisis peak of 6721.60 on September 31, 2007.



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