HSBC profit down 20 percent to $6.8B in first quarter

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

London, United Kingdom (4E) – HSBC reported a 20 percent fall in profits during the first quarter compared with the same period last year.

Pre-tax profits stood at $6.8bn, slightly beating analysts’ projections. The comparison with the first quarter of 2013 was challenging as last year’s results were boosted by asset sales.

Investment banking revenue dropped 4 percent. Other investment banks have also registered lower earnings in the first quarter following a poor start to the year for interest rate and bond trading.

HSBC said the month of April had “muted customer activity”. The company generates most of its profits from its Asian market.

Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said that the company maintained control of costs in the first quarter as well showed its capital resilience. Mr. Gulliver added that whilst revenue was weaker compared with the previous year, which benefited from certain items, the bank managed to see progress in revenue over the earlier quarters.

HSBC said overall reported revenue slid $2.5bn to $15.9bn, and revenue from investment banking was down 4 percent to $2.9bn due to “challenging” market conditions.

The bank has reduced 40,000 jobs and shut down or sold 60 businesses over the last three years to lower costs. But the bank said it added 1,100 jobs in the first period, as a result of improving compliance, and hiring employees where it sees growth potential.

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