This might be the reason HSBC's shares are up despite profits going down

Hayley Kirton
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The HSBC bank head office building (C) i...
There was some good news hidden beneath the plummeting profits (Source: Getty)

HSBC did not perform particularly well financially during the first half of 2016, revealing this morning that pre-tax profits dropped 29 per cent.

The picture was even bleaker on a quarterly basis, where profits plunged 45 per cent, failing to meet analysts' already glib expectations of a 40 per cent drop.

However, there was some good news - $2.5bn worth of it to be precise, as the lender announced a share buy-back programme to take place in the second half of this year. The buy-back has been sparked by the sale of its Brazilian business last month.

Shareholders were clearly elated with the news. Shares are currently trading up five per cent at 507.10p.

3 August 2016 @ 2:00pmHSBC Holdings (HSBA)

"The bank is currently rewarding shareholders with dividends and a new share buyback scheme," explained Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"The stock is now yielding around 7.5 per cent, which suggests markets are treating dividend payments with a healthy dose of scepticism, though the $2.5bn share buyback programme may relieve some of that doubt."

However, a note from Shore Capital warned the gain on the Brazil sale which triggered the buy-back programme was "relatively small beer in the grand scheme of things", and pointed out that the bank had also said it needed to backtrack on its progressive dividend policy this morning.

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