France's largest listed bank BNP Paribas has today cut its profit and revenue growth targets for 2020, after weak financial markets hit revenues in the last quarter of 2018. 

BNP Paribas now expects a return on equity of 9.5% in 2020, down from a previous target of above 10%. 

The bank also lowered its revenue growth target to 1.5% per year between 2016 and 2020, from 2.5% previously. 

The downgrades came after the bank said its revenue fell 1.5% in 2018 to €42.52 billion.

That included a 40% plunge in revenues, as well as a pretax loss, at its global markets investment banking and trading arm in the fourth quarter as financial markets slumped. 

The bank said its fourth-quarter group revenues fell to €10.16 billion from €10.53 billion a year earlier. Analysts had forecast revenues at €10.33 billion. 

Net profit was €1.44 billions, up from €1.43 billion a year earlier and ahead of analysts' forecast of €1.41 billion. 

Large European banks such as BNP Paribas are struggling to find new profit sources after years of rock-bottom interest rates have limited returns in retail banking.

Their corporate and investment banking units are also vulnerable to financial market swings.

Two of BNP Paribas' smaller local rivals - Societe Generale and Natixis - have released profit warnings in recent weeks because of losses on market operations. 

Last week, Deutsche Bank also posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss at its investment bank. 

BNP Paribas attributed the dismal performance of its global markets division to customers shunning certain instruments as prices plummeted. 

A deficient hedging strategy on an equity derivative portfolio also caused a €70m loss. 

The bank said it had decided to speed up a programme to streamline its corporate and investment banking arm. 

It plans to exit "non-strategic, subscale or unprofitable segments" after already closing its proprietary trading desk and its commodities desk in the US. 

It will also cut costs by an additional €350m this year and the next and accelerate automation. 

The only bright spot in the fourth quarter was the bank's International Financial Services arm, which includes insurance, asset management, consumer lending and other businesses. 

BNP Paribas today proposed a 2018 dividend of €3.02 per share, stable from last year.