HSBC unveils surprise rise in earnings

HSBC defied the equities gloom to jump 2.19 per cent yesterday after unveiling a rise in profits versus expectations of a decline.

The bank saw its half-year pre-tax profit rise to $11.5bn (£7.1bn), three per cent higher than the same period last year, allowing it to boost its dividend for the period by 13 per cent to 18 cents.

Its underlying profits were up 13 per cent to $11.4bn on the back of a 32 per cent fall in impairments, which the bank said was driven by running off the unwanted parts of its US business.

The bank announced the sale of its New York branch network late on Sunday for $1bn and said it is still in talks with “a couple of potential buyers” for its US credit cards business.

European profits were knocked by a $611m provision for compensating UK customers mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), with earnings in the region falling 29 per cent to $2.2bn.

But the bank said that its global banking and markets division (GBM) – HSBC’s investment bank – fared better than rivals due to providing relatively unusual services such as trading access to a wider range of emerging markets than others. Nonetheless, its revenues slumped nine per cent.