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HSBC bank says profits fall in first half

Bank giant HSBC said on Monday that profits fell in the first half because one-off gains were not repeated and after a weaker showing at its investment arm.

Net profit dropped to $9.746 billion (7.259 billion euros) in the six months to June 30 compared with earnings after tax totalling $10.284 billion in the first half of 2013, the British lender said in an earnings statement.

Reported profit before tax dropped to $12.3 billion as last year's first half benefited from higher gains from disposals and reclassification of HSBC's interest in China's Industrial Bank.

Pre-tax profit at HSBC's investment division dropped 12 percent to $5.0 billion in the first half.

HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said that the bank's overall interim results "demonstrate the resilience" of its business model.

"Whilst regulatory uncertainty persists, our balance sheet remains strong and our continuing ability to generate capital supports both growth and our progressive dividend policy," he added in the statement.

The Asia-focused lender is pushing on with its savings programme, having announced last year plans to cut costs by a further $2.0 billion to $3.0 billion between 2014 and 2016.

Following the results, HSBC's share price was up 0.33 percent to 631.4 pence on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which trading 0.06-percent higher at 6,682.15 points in mid-morning deals.

"The FTSE 100 started the week off on sound footing, but worse-than-expected HSBC figures have dented the early momentum," said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG trading group.

The bank added that underlying revenue fell 4.0 percent to $31.36 billion in the first half, while operating expenses rose 2.0 percent to $18.24 billion.

"In the first half of 2014, against a backdrop of continuing low interest rates and reduced financial market volumes, HSBC produced a suitably well-balanced financial performance," said the bank's chairman Douglas Flint.

"At a time of residual concerns over the sustainability of economic growth in many major markets and with heightened geopolitical tensions apparent, the board supported management's view that this was not the time to expand risk appetite to offset the effect of lower revenues," he added in the statement.