LONDON -- The shares of Barclays (LSE: BARC.L) (NYSE: BCS) fell 9 pence, or 4%, to 230 pence in early London trade this morning after the bank reported a 106 million pound loss for the third quarter.

Today's figures from the FTSE 100 (UKX) member were blighted by a 1 billion pound charge relating to the reduced market value of the bank's own debt, plus a 700 million pound charge to cover the mis-selling of personal protection insurance.

Excluding those costs, Barclays' Q3 figures showed an adjusted 1.7 billion pound profit before tax.

For the first nine months of the year, profits at Barclays' retail and business banking division dropped 5% to 2.5 billion pounds, while profits within the firm's investment-banking operation advanced 19% to 3.2 billion pounds.

Underlying earnings for the third quarter were 7.5 pence per share, and compared to 8.2 pence per share for the second quarter and 13.6 pence per share for the first.

The bank added that its dividend would remain at 1 pence per share per quarter.

Barclays admitted today that its performance during October "continues to be affected by the challenging economic environment and subdued market volumes."

The FTSE 100 group also said it was "cautious about the environment" and had positioned itself "with an intense focus on costs, returns and capital."

Trailing adjusted earnings currently run at 30.5 pence per share, giving a P/E of 7.5. The 4 pence per share dividend supports a yield of 1.7%, while the 379 pence per share net asset value gives a price to book ratio of 0.61.

Whether Barclays is a 'buy' based on today's Q3 statement, those ratings and the general outlook for the banking sector remains your decision.

If Barclays is not for you, then you could always pick the brains of our analysts here at The Motley Fool. You see, they've compiled a special free report detailing three of their favourite sectors, as well as a great business within each one.

All you have to do is click here to have these top share ideas delivered immediately to your inbox -- for free!

Are you looking to profit as a long-term investor? "10 Steps to Making a Million in the Market" is the latest Motley Fool guide to help Britain invest. Better. We urge you to read the report today -- while it's still free and available.

Further Motley Fool investment opportunities:

Maynard does not own any share mentioned in this article.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.