HSBC Net Rises 2% but Less Than Forecast

Updated from 3:38 a.m. EST

LONDON ( TheStreet) -- HSBC ( HBC), the U.K.'s largest bank, said fiscal-year while net earnings rose 2% to $5.8 billion, less than analysts had expected.

HSBC said underlying pretax profit rose 56% to $13.3 billion, while on a reported basis pretax profit fell 24% to $7.1 billion.

HSBC said loan impairment charges and other credit risk provisions were $26.49 billion in 2009, $1.55 billion higher than in 2008, and "we believe this was acceptable given the severity of the global recession and the rise in unemployment in most developed markets," said CEO Michael Geoghegan, in a statement.

Loan impairments fell by 16% at HSBC's U.S. consumer finance run-off business in 2009 from 2008.

The bank's core tier 1 ratio was 9.4% at Dec. 31.

HSBC said it was profitable in all regions except North America.

HSBC said its global banking and markets division had 2009 pretax profit of $10.5 billion, compared with $3.0 billion in 2008.

Geoghegan confirmed Monday he would give his bonus to charity.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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