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2 Numbers That Could Make Barclays PLC A Perilous Stock Pick

Today I am looking at why I believe Barclays (LSE: BARC) (NYSE: BCS.US) could be considered a risky banking selection.

Here are two numbers that I think help make the case.

30

The overhanging issue of legacy misconduct which continues to haunt Barclays and its peers took a new twist this week.

The bank is one of several to be investigated for the manipulation of currency markets alongside Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, JP Morgan, Citibank and UBS. But while those five agreed to an astonishing £2.6bn collective fine from regulators in the UK and US, Barclays refused to settle at the last minute as talks are ongoing with another North American regulator.

Indeed, the bank noted that “after we have concluded that it is in the interests of the company to seek a more general coordinated settlement.”

Unfortunately this high-stakes game of chicken could hit Barclays even harder in the pocket. Firstly the bank has missed out on the Financial Conduct Authority’s 30% shared discount — or £500m — on the total penalty doled out to the other five institutions for choosing to settle early.

On top of this, Barclays also faces the wrath of increasingly-combatant regulators, with lawmakers on both sides of the Pond growing impatient at the never-ending conveyor belt of banking misconduct cases, and egged on by enduringly-hostile public opinion.

Indeed, Barclays itself has stashed away billions to deal with the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) and interest rate hedging products. The institution is also being dragged through the courts in New York over claims it gave high-frequency at its ‘dark pool’ trading system an advantage.

In light of these issues, regulators may choose to impose an even heftier fine on Barclays for its refusal to take its medicine this week for its dodgy currency dealings.

3

In a bid to attract new homebuyers through their doors, the country’s biggest High Street banks have been falling over themselves to offer rock-bottom interest rates. Barclays itself has rolled off a suite of fixed-rate deals for those with deposits over 40%, while it is also cutting rates for those with much lower deposits.

However, latest mortgage approval data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) highlighted a dip in house buyer confidence. Indeed, the number of approved applications for first-time buyers dipped 3% in September from the previous month, to 26,800 cases.

Should expectations of a rate hike by the Bank of England continue to rise then mortgage demand could continue to come under pressure.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.