Profit Outlook

LONDON, May 11, 2009 (AFP) – Global banking giant HSBC said on Monday that profits were rising strongly on the basis of first-quarter data and it saw “robust” growth in China and India, while remaining cautious for the year.

First-quarter pre-tax profits were “well ahead” of the figure for the same period of last year, the bank said, bouncing back despite the world financial crisis.

The group gave a cautious outlook for the year ahead amid concerns about the tough trading environment and a spreading global recession — but also cited “robust” growth in China and India.

“HSBC has made a resilient start to 2009,” the group said in an interim management statement, noting that “underlying pre-tax profit was well ahead of the first quarter of 2008.”

“Revenue recovered strongly from the fourth quarter of 2008, with record results in Global Banking and Markets which benefited from improved market share and margins in a number of key areas.

“The group’s costs were held flat overall. Operating trends were in line with our expectations.”

HSBC, while escaping the need for a British government bailout, recently raised 12.5 billion pounds (18 billion dollars, 13.7 billion euros) via a sale of new shares.

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