Shares in HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) have fallen into the red in London this morning, even as Europe’s biggest bank unveiled plans to return cash to shareholders. The Asia-focused lender posted a fall in quarterly profits, with the result falling short of analyst estimates.
As of 08:43 BST, HSBC’s share price had given up 2.48 percent to 702.70p, underperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which has climbed into positive territory and currently stands 0.41 percent higher at 7,533.10 points. The group’s shares have added more than six percent to their value over the past year, as compared with a near four-percent rise in the Footsie.
HSBC results disappoint
HSBC reported in a statement this morning that its revenue had climbed six percent to $13.7 billion in the first three months of the year. The group’s reported profit before tax, however, fell four percent to $4.8 billion, with higher operating expenses offsetting the rise in revenue. Reuters reports that the result had fallen short of the $5.76 billion average of analysts’ estimates compiled by the bank.
Only one share buyback
The group meanwhile announced that it intended to initiate e a share buyback of up to $2 billion, while cautioning that it expects this to be the only share buyback for the current year, “in light of the growth opportunities that we currently see”.
“Our global businesses performed well in the first quarter, maintaining momentum from the end of 2017. We continue to benefit from interest rate rises and economic growth, particularly in Asia. Our primary focus is to grow the businesses safely, and we have increased investment to deliver that aim,” HSBC’s new chief executive John Flint, who took over from Stuart Gulliver in February, said in the statement.