Societe Generale and Credit Agricole results beat forecasts

Societe Generale sign Image copyright Reuters

French banks Societe Generale and Credit Agricole have reported robust rises in quarterly results, thanks to strong investment banking revenues.

A recovery in the European economy helped to give both banks a boost.

Strong sales from investment banking activities helped to propel Societe Generale's earnings five times higher than the same period last year, to €868m ($967m; £642bn).

Credit Agricole earned €784m in the first quarter.

Both banks beat analysts' forecasts with their quarterly results.

The European Central Bank's stimulus programme has helped to fuel volatile trading activity on financial markets in the region, which has helped to lift the earnings of Europe's banks.

In the first quarter of 2015, Societe Generale saw income at its banking division rise 21% to €522m.

"Societe Generale enjoyed a good first quarter, marked by strong growth in commercial revenues and Group net income, testifying to our business model's potential for profitable growth, in line with our strategic objectives," said Frederic Oudea, chairman and chief executive.

Heavy losses in Russia had weighed on Societe Generale's results last year.

For Credit Agricole, corporate and investment banking activities yielded €320m in the first quarter of this year.

Jean-Paul Chifflet, chief executive of Credit Agricole, said the "good results were driven by a strong business momentum in all the business lines".

In Paris, Societe General shares closed down 2.3% lower in afternoon trading, while Credit Agricole shares climbed slightly.

Last week, fellow French bank BNP Paribas reported an 88% increase in its quarterly results, citing the economic recovery in Europe as a factor behind the rise.

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