But every time the stock started to rev its engines, it stalled.
Mis-selling scandals, rate fixing, the dark pool fraud nightmare, bonus bust-ups,currency rigging and the uncertain global recovery conspired to throw the share price into reverse.
2014 was just one false start after another.
Lately, there are encouraging signs of forward motion. Barclays is up 18% over three months, and 10% in the last month alone.
Given that this is a banking stock, anything could happen next. But momentum seems to be building.
Im not the only one to think this way. Morgan Stanley has just picked out Barclays (and Lloyds Banking Group) as the go-to UK banks for investors now.
It reckons the banking sector will start to play catch-up as the stabilising oil price and as eurozone QEreduce deflationary fears, and fears over net interest margins and capital needs recede.
Trading at a forecast 10 times earnings for December, Barclays doesnt look expensive, especially earnings per share expected to rise 27% this year.
Todays yield of 2.5% is expected to touch3.6% by year end. By the end of 2016, the yield should hit4.5%.
As the prospect of a base rate hike recedes ever further into the distance, Barclays offers the prospect of a high and rising income.
Managementhas been restructuring in recent years, and the new leaner operation should help drive shareholder returns.
Last year, the bank announced it would cut 19,000 jobs by 2016, to help lift its return on equity above 12%. Now it looks set to deliver 250 million more in savings than expected, on top of the 3 billion liberated by its Transform programme.
Even a fresh bout of dark pool fraud allegations have failed to knock investor appetite. Neither did news of a Financial Conduct Authority probe into the investment banking sector, northe recent Standard & Poors two-notch downgrade to BBB.
It seems the endless stream of scandalous allegations are already worked into bank share prices.
Barclays recent momentum was helped by Investec singling it out as its preferred UK bank, citing its strengthened capital and leveraged position.
Trading at 0.8 times 2014 estimate tangible net asset value, itis also the cheapest bank.
At 262p, Barclays is just a whisker from its 52-week high of 266p, and 30% above its low of 200p.Thats another feature of momentum stocks, theyre trading at year highs rather than year lows.
When I first highlighted Barclays bounceback potential, it was a contrarian suggestion.Notanymore.
Investec, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup all nowhailit as a buy, Goldman Sachs names it as a conviction buy.
Well, I reckon its a buy, too. Just as I did one year ago.
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