HSBC on the rise
LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) – HSBC’s profits rose 10 percent last year, just below analysts’ forecasts, as strong gains in Asia helped Europe”s biggest bank absorb a $17.2 billion hit for bad debts due to U.S. housing market problems.
The London-headquartered bank reported a record 2007 pretax profit of $24.2 billion, up from $22.1 billion in 2006. It was below an average forecast of $24.7 billion from a Reuters Estimates poll of analysts but well within the range of estimates.
The bank’s impairment charge was up by $6.7 billion from 2006, or 63 percent. Bad debts had been expected to come in at $15.8 billion, based on the average of forecasts from eight analysts.