HSBC announces a 5% year-on-year profit growth for the first half of 2017, as well as a plan to buy back up to $2 billion of its own shares. Graham Mackay reports.
Promising results for Europe's biggest bank on Monday. HSBC announcing a 5 percent rise in earnings for the first half of 2017 - beating expectations with a pre-tax profit of 10-point-2 billion dollars. Also announced on Monday - plans for the bank to buy back up to 2 billion dollars of its own shares - part of a longer-term plan to run down its stockpile of excess cash - and drive up its stock price. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEREMY COOK, CHIEF ECONOMIST & HEAD OF CURRENCY STRATEGY AT WORLD FIRST, SAYING: "This is a little bit of a reward for shareholders that have stuck with HSBC through thick and thin. In the grand scheme of things it is a positive thing for HSBC, it's not a positive thing for markets however. It may drive the share price a little bit higher, but it's not actually helping GDP. Buybacks don't help growth, they don't help expansion, they don't help investment within the economy." Overall, it's an upbeat picture after recent years of job cuts and asset sell-offs worldwide - all aimed at shrinking HSBC back into profitability. Alongside its strategic shifts - the bank is currently half way through a succession planning process - after naming an outsider as chairman for the first time in its 150-year history. AIA's Mark Tucker takes up the position in October... And the HSBC's current CEO Stuart Gulliver is expected to step down in 2018. His replacement is yet to be named.