HSBC's  (HSBC) shares were up 3.4% premarket after the bank reported strong first quarter results and an unexpected dividend from its U.S. banking unit for the first time since 2006. 

The dividend payout was for an unspecified amount, but signals that the bank's turnaround plan that was instituted in 2011 is bearing fruit. The bank has focused more on Asia while lowering exposure in riskier markets. 

Finance Director Iain Mackay said that the dividend payment was the first step in the U.S. business releasing billions of dollars that are "trapped" in the unit. 

Read more about HSBC's first quarter earnings results here