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HSBC Stock Higher on Profit Beat, $2 Billion Stock Buyback

HSBC says its $2 billion stock buyback should be a signal that it is not concerned about its exposure in China.
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Shares of HSBC  (HSBC) - Get HSBC Holdings PLC Sponsored ADR Report were rising after the banking giant reported third-quarter results ahead of analyst expectations and said it planned a $2 billion stock buyback. 

The London bank reported third quarter earnings of $12.34 a share on revenue of $4.79 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting earnings of $11.17 per share on revenue of $4.69 billion. 

The profit growth was "supported by additional credit-provision releases," Chief Executive Noel Quinn said in a statement.

"Our strategy remains on track, with good delivery in all areas. This was reflected in more consistent top-line growth, robust lending pipelines across our businesses, and rising trade and mortgage balances."

The company's quarterly profit of $5.4 billion jumped 74% year over year and was driven mainly by the release of cash reserves set aside in anticipation of an increase in defaults due to the pandemic. 

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HSBC's finance chief Ewen Stevenson told Reuters that the worst of the pandemic impact is likely in the past. 

The Asia-focused bank also unveiled a $2 billion share buyback program. 

"You should also look at the buyback as a measure of the confidence that we have at the moment that we are not unduly concerned about our exposures in China," Stevenson told Reuters. 

Stevenson also said the bank could spend up to $1.5 billion more on acquisitions in the wealth management industry in order to bolster its foothold there.  

HSBC shares at last check were rising 1% to $30.33. They had touched a 52-week high $32.43 in late May.