How to buy HSBC shares

The British bank HSBC is one of the largest banks in the world but has faced geopolitical pressure and a global pandemic in recent years. Find out why you might want to invest in this banking stock.
By: James Knight
James Knight
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed,… read more.
Updated: May 18, 2021
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This guide will look at the history of HSBC, its recent performance and some factors to look out for when making the decision whether to get some of its shares. Read on for all that as well as some pointers on the best brokers to use when you do decide to invest.

Compare the best HSBC trading platforms

You can get started immediately by visiting one of our trusted brokers below. We’ve assessed all the best brokers and compared them so that picking the right choice for you is quick and easy. If you’re not ready to invest yet, keep reading for more information on HSBC.

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How to buy HSBC stocks, a step-by-step guide

It isn’t complicated to invest in the stock market, so don’t worry even if you’ve never done it before. These are a series of simple steps for you to follow:

  1. Choose a broker. The first thing you need to do is find an online brokerage platform. There are many different options to choose from, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. The comparison table above can help you select the right broker for you, and you can head to our comprehensive broker reviews if you’re still unsure.
  2. Create an account. Once you’ve selected your broker, simply go to their website and create an account. The steps required for this will vary from platform to platform, but generally you can expect to have to provide your name, email address, phone number, and some form of photo identification.
  3. Deposit funds. Log into your broker account and select the option to deposit funds. Depending on your broker you’ll have a variety of payment options available; most brokers accept bank transfers and debit card payments, but not all accept e-wallets such as PayPal. Select your preferred payment method and deposit the amount of money you wish to invest in HSBC shares.
  4. Place an order for HSBA stock. Search for HSBC’s ticker symbol (HSBA) and see the current price at which the stock is trading. If you’re happy with the price, enter the amount of shares you wish to own and place your order.
  5. Execute your order. Once you have placed your order, your broker will automatically execute it for you and your HSBC shares will be listed in your account. Congratulations, you’ve just bought shares in HSBC!

What is HSBC? And should I invest?

HSBC (LON: HSBA) is a British investment bank and the 6th largest bank in the world. It was originally formed as the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in Hong Kong all the way back in 1865. In the 1990s it bought Midlands Bank to establish its presence in the UK and moved its headquarters to London, although it retains a significant presence in Hong Kong and is a major player in Asia.

HSBC has a dual listing on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK: 5) and London Stock Exchange, where it’s the third-largest company on the index, as well as a series of other secondary listings.

Before investing in HSBC there are a number of factors to consider about the wider economic environment. British banks also have to abide by rules and interest rates set by the central bank – the Bank of England (BoE) – which means the decision over whether to pay out dividends can be taken out of their hands, as they were in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In HSBC’s case that was the first dividend cancellation in 74 years

HSBC has a truly global presence, although in recent years it has divested itself of some of its acquisitions around the world. Most notably, it has struggled to compete with the established major banks in the US and is looking for ways to improve its performance there. It may shift to an online-only model, or focus instead on the Chinese diaspora in the US, but either way it is something to look out for.

How has the company performed in recent years?

Banks have been struggling in recent years thanks to extremely low interest rates, and the pandemic has only enhanced the need for HSBC to protect itself against bad loans and the continued fallout of a potential recession. At its lowest the stock hit 300p following the pandemic, lower even than during the worst of the financial crisis.

In 2020 a dividend cancellation on orders from the BoE caused HSBC’s value to halve in London and fall briefly below that 300p mark. That fall was mostly down to a sell-off by Asian investors on its Hong Kong listing, a sign that HSBC’s global reach can cause it to react differently compared to other banks.

Generally, however, HSBC has performed better, but lower profits and decreases in revenue had caused its price to fall at times even before COVID-19. In 2016, the stock dropped to 418p on the back of a poorly-received revenue announcement combined with a lower than expected share buyback. Despite those negatives, the stock regularly traded above 600p, fluctuations in price that could offer an opportunity to technical investors.

Is it a good time to buy HSBC shares now?

HSBC could be better placed than some competitors in the banking sector because it’s more exposed to Asian markets, particularly in China and Hong Kong. Those countries have generally dealt better with the coronavirus outbreak than elsewhere and their economies could recover faster, which would be good news for HSBC. 

The bank has been bullish in its response to the pandemic and only suspended its dividend in 2020 on orders from the Bank of England. It is likely to reinstate that at the first opportunity, which might provide investors with returns even in the short term, although you should keep in mind that the decision may be taken out of their hands.

HSBC differs from some of its competitors in that its exposure to Asia has made it more vulnerable to geopolitics, most notably in Hong Kong, where tensions between the island and China have intensified over recent years. This has acted to keep the share price somewhat depressed over fears that its most important market could be affected.

Longer-term investors will want to look at global politics and for signs of a thaw in relations between Washington and Beijing, while HSBC finding a way to make its US banking division more profitable, or possibly even getting rid of it entirely, could be another positive indicator. You can keep track of all that latest news, as well as our market analysis, using the links below.

HSBC shares have advanced from $21.3 above $26.7 since the beginning of November and the current price stands around $26.6. HSBC shares could be a good long-term investment and the technical picture implies that the price may advance even more. Fundamental analysis: HSBC is a stable bank with a good…

Buying, selling and trading HSBC shares for beginners

What to do before buying shares

You should always take the time to research a stock fully before investing your money, especially if you haven’t bought shares before. The more knowledge you have, the better your chances of making a wise investment. 

With that in mind, here’s a checklist to run through before investing in HSBC.

  1. Research the company. You should always examine the fundamentals of a company. What is HSBC? How did the company get its start? How did it grow? Is HSBC’s revenue and profit growth picking up? Is the company innovating? The more you know about HSBC, the better positioned you’ll be to make smart investment decisions.
  2. Make sure you understand the basics of stock investing. Before getting involved in the stock market, make sure you have an understanding of how it works. This will ensure that you have more clearly defined goals and have thought through how you will achieve them.
  3. Decide between share dealing and CFD trading. Choose the type of investment strategy you want to pursue, and make sure you have carried out the necessary fundamental or technical analysis for share dealing and CFD trading respectively.
  4. Set the size of your budget. The golden rule of investing is never to risk more than you can afford to lose. Not every investment you make will result in a profit, so it is important to set a budget that not only allows good potential for capital growth, but also protects against overly damaging losses.
  5. Find the right broker. The best way to buy shares in HSBC is through an online broker. Individual brokers each have their own pros and cons. Some will have low fees but have a user interface you struggle to understand, whereas others may be a bit more expensive but come with a range of features that you want to take advantage of. Find the right broker with our reviews of the best platforms.
  6. Examine broader market conditions. No stock exists in a vacuum, and it’s always important to analyse the general trends of the stock market as a whole before investing. If a bear market is setting in and stock prices are falling, it’s best to wait it out and invest your money later when the stock is cheaper. If, however, the market is looking bearish, you’ll want to make your investment quickly to get the maximum benefit from rising stock prices. Follow the latest financial news to stay on top of market events.

What is the difference between buying, selling, and trading shares?

If you’re new to stock investing, then it’s important to understand the basics of how to buy, sell, and trade HSBC shares. Here’s a quick run-through of what’s involved in each.

Buying HSBC

This process involves finding a broker and placing an order for HSBC stock, as outlined in the steps further up this page. Ideally you want to time your investment when the stock’s price is low so that you can profit by selling the shares after they increase in value.

Selling HSBC

When you sell any HSBC shares you have bought, you’ll want to do so at a higher price than the one at which you bought to earn a profit. 

When you sell is up to you. You can hold onto your stocks, hoping to benefit from the company growing steadily throughout. Or, if you see that HSBC’s stock is already up a lot compared to the price you bought it and you’ve noticed that the stock market is starting to fall, it might make sense to sell and take your profits to invest elsewhere. Equally, if the stock has fallen since you bought it and looks set to fall further, it might be a good idea to cut your losses by selling your shares.

Trading HSBC

Trading is the same process as buying and selling shares, it’s just done over shorter periods of time with the aim to make small profits on a regular basis. This means that you can make money faster and spend your profits in your day-to-day life – however, on the other side it means you can lose money faster as well. For inexperienced investors, we generally recommend making investments for at least 6 months to a year instead of making trades in quick succession.

You can trade HSBC shares through buying and selling shares, or by trading with CFDs. These allow investors to speculate on stock prices and trade with leverage in pursuit of bigger gains. CFDs trading is explained further in the next section, but it is worth noting that beginners should avoid trading with leverage. It comes with large risks and is best left to experienced investors.

Share dealing vs CFD trading

When it comes to investing in any stock, the two options you have are share dealing and trading. Which one of these methods to opt for largely depends on your investment timeline, with investors thinking long term tending to go for share dealing, and those looking for short term gains pursuing a more aggressive trading strategy.

Here’s a quick summary of the two approaches, and the pros and cons of each.

Share dealing 

Share dealing refers to the practice of holding shares in a particular company over the long term. When investing like this, you’re seeking to profit either from dividend payments or an increase in the stock’s price over time.

When investing your money this way, it is important to do thorough fundamental analysis of the company in which you are investing. You want to put your money in a stock you believe will trend upwards over time, even if there is some market volatility along the way, rather than get distracted by shorter term peaks and troughs.

Pros

  • Can build wealth over time to achieve financial goals
  • Don’t need to be very reactive to short-term market movements
  • Some stocks will give you an income through regular dividend payments

Cons

  • Takes a long time to realise any profits
  • Your capital is tied up in stocks and cannot be used for other investments

CFD Trading 

If your aim is to generate profits in the short term, then you might be better off trading shares than holding them in your portfolio. Stock trades like this are executed using CFDs (contracts for difference), which allow investors to trade against the value of a stock without having to take ownership of it. When CFD trading, investors are looking to buy and sell stocks fast to profit from short-term fluctuations in value.

One aspect of CFD trading that many investors find attractive is that they allow you to trade with leverage. This means you can place large trades while only putting up a fraction of the value yourself – for instance, if a platform offered leverage of 1:10, you could put £10 into HSBA shares and be able to trade £100 worth. This can maximise profits if the market moves in your favour, but be careful as it can also lead to heavy losses.

When trading using CFDs, it is key to be skilled at technical analysis and reading stock price charts. As you’re trading stocks quickly and frequently, the fundamental strength of the company in which you’re investing isn’t as important as being able to predict how its stock price will rise and fall minute-by-minute.

Pros

  • Can generate fast profits if you read the market right 
  • Some platforms allow you to trade with leverage
  • Prevents your capital being tied up so you can take advantage of investment opportunities

Cons

  • Trading with leverage is risky and can lead to big losses
  • Doesn’t necessarily generate growth over the long term

Consider which approach suits you best and craft an investment strategy that works for you. If you need more information, then simply take our stock trading course or learn about how to trade CFDs to get you up to speed. 

How to choose a broker

With the wide variety of online brokers available these days, it can be hard to figure out which is the best service to go with. Our comparison table and in-depth reviews can help you cut through the noise, but by and large these are the aspects you should be considering when selecting a broker:

  • Range of stocks available. The most important thing is that you can actually use the broker to find the shares you’re looking for. Some brokers offer more stocks than others, and many will allow you to trade other assets, such as forex and commodities.
  • Fees and commissions. You want to keep as large a chunk of your profits as you can, so it’s important to make sure your broker doesn’t charge high fees that can eat into your profits.
  • Regulation. You should only use regulated brokers to place trades. Unregulated brokers can be risky and offer little to no protection if the business were to fail while you had funds in your account.
  • Payment methods available. You might want to get HSBC shares using a specific payment method, such as PayPal. Not all brokers accept every payment method, but using our comparisons you can search only the brokers that support the option you’re looking for.
  • Reputation. One of the strongest indicators of a broker’s reliability is the reputation it has with the customers who have used it. Brokers are online businesses, and as such many user experiences can be found online. You can check these out in addition to our reviews to make sure you choose the right platform.
  • Customer service. As you’re going to be investing your money using the platform, you want to check that the broker offers good customer service in case you have a query or something goes wrong.

Try some of our stock market courses for beginners

Not quite ready to invest in HSBC? You’ll learn a lot more about investing with our easy-to-follow educational courses. Once you’ve absorbed the lessons from our courses, you’ll be better prepared to buy HSBC’s shares.

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Latest HSBC news

HSBC Holdings plc (LON: HSBA) said on Monday its pretax profit in the first half climbed by more than 100% on a year over year basis. Its financial performance saw a $700 million boost from credit reserve releases. Shares of the financial services firm were up about 1% on…
HSBC Holdings plc (LON: HSBA) said on Tuesday that its net profit in the first quarter posted an over 100% growth on a year over year basis. The company attributed the increase to improvement in the economic outlook that enabled it to release allowances it had set aside for…
HSBC Holdings plc (LON: HSBA) said on Tuesday that it will invest another £4.26 billion over the next five years in Asia, in a bid to double down its core business. CEO Noel commented on the announcement and said: “We plan to focus on and invest in the…
HSBC Holdings plc (LON: HSBA) has been struggling to compete well with the big fish in the United States for a while. In a report on Saturday, Financial Times said that the largest European bank was now planning on quitting retail banking completely in the United States. At £4.04…
In an announcement on Tuesday, HSBC Holdings plc (LON: HSBA) said that its net profit posted a decline in the fiscal third quarter. The company attributed the decline to its revenue that was under pressure in Q3 due to the Coronavirus pandemic that resulted in lower interest rates.
HSBC Holdings plc (LON: HSBA) and Standard Chartered plc (LON: STAN) tumbled in the stock market on Monday to the levels last seen in 1998 on media reports that the two banks along with others, including Deutsche Bank and Barclays, engaged in moving enormous amounts of allegedly illicit…

Fact-checking & references

Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.

Risk disclaimer

Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >

James Knight
Financial writer
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed, rode, and ate an ostrich all on… read more.