HSBC: profits surge 92%, but outlook cautious

STORY: HSBC had a mixed message for investors on Tuesday (February 21).

Fourth-quarter profit at Europe’s biggest bank surged 92%, hitting $5.2 billion.

That was comfortably ahead of analyst forecasts.

The lender also pledged to pay a special dividend to shareholders, funded by the $10 billion sale of its Canada business.

It also promised to resume regular dividends, and could bring forward share buyback plans.

But despite all that, its London-listed shares sagged close to 2% in early trade.

Investors were more focused on income forecasts, which analysts said looked tepid in an era of rising rates.

HSBC said it expected net interest income in 2023 to hit at least $36 billion.

That was a billion or two down on figures calculated by analysts.

And it follows a similarly cautious outlook from UK rival NatWest last week, when it said that profit earned from rising interest rates may have peaked.

Now HSBC says there will be no easing up on cost cutting.

Chief Executive Noel Quinn said there could be hundreds of millions in additional job severance costs this year.