Lex: Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Scotland on Thursday said its loan impairments appeared to have peaked as it reported a smaller-than-expected £3.6bn net loss for 2009. Shares in the state-controlled bank responded by rising 6.6 per cent to 38½p in mid-morning trading. RBS made a £24.3bn net loss in 2008. Analysts had been expecting this to narrow to £5.2bn in 2009, according to consensus forecasts compiled by the company. The group's investment banking division - known as global banking and markets - was its best performer during the period, as was the case in Barclays' results earlier in the month. Richard Stovin-Bradford analyses the latest results.