HSBC shares fall despite $2bn share buyback

TOP NEWS: Higher Operating Expenses Hit HSBC Quarterly Profit

London-based HSBC said pretax profit slipped 4 percent from a year ago to $4.8 billion as operating expenses for business investment and enhancing "digital capabilities" rose 13 percent, outpacing revenue, which grew 6 percent to $13.7 billion.

The bank's profit shrank mainly as a almost 13% rise in operating expenses outpaced revenue growth of 5.5%.

Alongside the first-quarter results this morning HSBC announced plans for a $2 billion share buyback.

But despite this investment, Europe's biggest bank by assets said it intends to initiate a share buy-back of up to US$2bn, which it expects to commence shortly.

Analysts had previously expected the bank to report a pre-tax profit of $5.7bn. In 1Q18, we increased investment in Retail Banking and Wealth Management to further grow our market share in the United Kingdom and mainland China.

"Given the growth opportunities we now see, we expect this to be the only share buyback that we announce in 2018", Europe's biggest bank by assets said, adding the process was expected to start shortly. This continues the plan launched by his previous CEO Stuart Gulliver to "pivot" to Asia, and China in particular.

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The main pillar of that strategy is centred around the fast growing Pearl River Delta region in southern China that borders Hong Kong.

The bank's Hong Kong-listed shares, a heavyweight on the benchmark Hang Seng Index (Hong Kong Stock Exchange:.HSI), fell 2.51 percent after the stock market resumed trading following a lunch break.

One of the biggest decisions he will have to make is over HSBC's perennially underperforming United States business, which has been barely profitable in recent years as it suffers from being sub-scale relative to domestic rivals. Mr Flint said the 8 per cent rise in underlying quarterly costs reflected investments in its Chinese and United Kingdom retail banking operations, its Chinese securities joint venture and digital improvements across the group.

"There is no straightforward inorganic solution, there's no quick fix", he said.

"Our global businesses performed well in the first quarter, maintaining momentum from the end of 2017".

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