HSBC Shares Thrashed After 2017 Profit Miss, Capital Raising Plans
HSBC comes up short.

HSBC Plc (HSBC) shares tanked on Tuesday after Europe's biggest bank missed analysts' forecasts for its full-year earnings and said it plans to raise as much as $7 billion in new capital before it will consider any share buybacks.

The London-based bank, which is gradually shifting its focus to markets in Asia under the stewardship of new CEO John Flint, said full-year profits more than doubled to $17.2 billion, but the figure was flattered by major restructuring costs booked in the 2016 fiscal year and the bottom line missed Street estimates of around $19.2 billion. The bank also booked a $1.3 billion charge related to last year's Republican-led overhaul of the U.S. corporate tax code and $188 billion in bad-loan impairments linked to two corporate clients in Europe that are widely believed to be the scandal hit furniture retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV and Britain's bankrupt outsourcer Carillion plc. 

"The strength of our business is due in large part to the strategic actions that we first announced in June 2015," said outgoing CEO Stuart Gulliver. "This programme concluded at the end of 2017 with eight out of ten actions completed on time and on target, marking the culmination of the most extensive transformation in the bank's history."

"HSBC is simpler, stronger and more secure as a result of this transformation, and better able to connect customers to opportunities in the world's fastest-growing regions," he said.

HSBC shares fell about 3.2% on the session. 

HSBC said it will raise between $5 billion and $7 billion in the first half of this year as part of an ongoing effort to improve its capital base, which was pegged at 14.5% on a so-called common equity tier one ratio at the end of last year, and would look at further share buybacks "as and when appropriate" and "subject to the execution of targeted capital actions and regulatory approval".

The group returned around $3 billion to shareholders last year, HSBC said, and paid "more in dividends that any other European or American bank".

Flint said he would update shareholders on the group's broader ambitions later this year, but said that the "fundamentals of HSBC will remain the same as they always have - strong funding and liquidity, strong capital, and a conservative approach to credit."