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Buyback and profit rise show progress as HSBC looks east

HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) - A third share buyback in a year by HSBC underlined progress in the turnaround plan for Europe's biggest bank, with profit also growing by 5 percent in the first half of 2017.

The news sent HSBC shares up three percent to a four-year high of 764 pence each in London, as the bank signaled further buybacks and confidence it can continue to improve revenues from growth in Asia.

Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver and Chairman Douglas Flint are both retiring, leaving a legacy of improving revenue and returning more capital to shareholders, having focused on trimming the bank's empire and shifting its focus eastwards.

The latest share buyback, of up to $2 billion, comes as HSBC uses excess capital to offset the dilutive effect of shares paid out as dividends. It completed a previously announced $1 billion buyback in April.

The buybacks and sustained dividends show HSBC further ahead in its turnaround compared with British-based rivals including Barclays and Standard Chartered which have suspended payouts as they restructure.

"The return of capital comes from the fact that the business is very accretive, very profitable ... the dividend is 51 cents for the...


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