LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - Improved income at its investment bank helped Barclays report a better than expected first quarter pretax profit of 1.7 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) on Thursday, although fines and legal costs from historic misconduct issues led to a statutory loss.
Barclays took a 1.4 billion pound hit from its settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over the sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the 2007 financial crisis, and a further 400 million pound hit to cover claims against mis-selling of payment insurance products in Britain.
The underlying profit was better than the average analyst estimate of 1.63 billion pounds.
The bank reported a common equity tier 1 ratio, a closely watched measure of financial strength, of 12.7 percent, down from 13.3 percent in February as its reserves took the hit from the U.S. fine.
Barclays' International division, which contains its under-pressure investment bank, reported a profit before tax excluding litigation costs of 1.4 billion pounds, better than the 1.1 billion average of analysts' forecasts. ($1 = 0.7171 pounds) (Reporting By Lawrence White and Emma Rumney, editing by Sinead Cruise)