“The numbers start to pale after a while. On Monday, Royal Bank of Scotland revealed that its fourth-quarter results would be hit with up to £8bn of “exceptional” charges. The bottom line was already in the red after the first nine months of last year, so RBS looks firmly on track to make one of its worst ever losses for the whole of 2013.
“Yet seasoned market hands barely flinched. The shares fell only 2 per cent in the last half-hour or so of trading after the announcement was made. Standard & Poor’s said the figures posed no risk to the bank’s credit rating. And analysts were generally sanguine.
“The profit warning itself was predictable enough, given the long list of RBS’s legacy issues and the tendency of new chief executives to “kitchen sink” charges for old problems – Ross McEwan took over as head of RBS only towards the end of last year.”
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