HSBC Holdings PLC (L:HSBA) (HK:0005) on Monday said profit grew 5 percent in the six months through June and announced its third share buyback in a year, indicating continued progress in the six-year turnaround plan of Europe’s biggest bank.
HSBC, like many global banks, spent the years up to the 2008 financial crisis expanding its empire with a string of acquisitions. Recent years have seen it cut jobs and sell assets worldwide to shrink the group back to profitability and maintain dividend payouts in an era of stricter banking regulations.
The bank’s 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 focus to Asia.
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.
By Sumeet Chatterjee and Lawrence White
The U.S. dollar was nursing losses near 13-month lows against a currency basket on Monday, pressured lower by persistent political uncertainty in Washington and doubts over whether the Federal Reserve will hike rates again this year.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was at 93.25 by 02.29 a.m. ET (06.29 a.m. GMT), after ending Friday’s session down around 0.6%.
The index has fallen around 2.2% so far this month and is down around 9% for the year to date.
Britain does not intend to lower taxes far below the European average in order to remain competitive after Brexit but rather expects to keep a recognisably European economic and social model, finance minister Philip Hammond said.
Hammond himself had suggested in January that Britain may have to change its economic model to remain competitive in the event that it left the European Union without having secured an agreement on market access.
A key measure of euro zone inflation accelerated to a four-year high this month and euro zone unemployment fell to its lowest since 2009 in June, data showed on Monday, in two encouraging signs for the European Central Bank as it considers reducing its monetary stimulus.
The ECB is due to decide by the autumn whether and how to extend its 2.3 trillion euros (2.05 trillion pounds) quantitative easing programme into 2018 and President Mario Draghi has cited sluggish core inflation and wage growth as reasons to be cautious.
Likely giving heart to ECB policymakers, core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, accelerated to 1.3 percent from 1.2 percent in June, Eurostat’s flash estimate showed.
It was its highest level since August 2013 and confounded market expectations for a slowdown.