HSBC Group plc (HSBC)  posted stronger-than-expected first half earnings Monday and launched an additional $2 billion share buyback program as the bank continues to see firmer growth in Asian markets. HSBC said pre-tax profit for the first six months of the year came in at $10.2 billion, firmly ahead of the $9.5 billion consensus provided by the bank and up 5.15% from the same period last year. Revenue for the first half was marked at $26.2 billion, the bank said, down 11% from last year " primarily due to currency translation differences, the absence of fair value movements on our own debt and revenue from the operations in Brazil that we sold", HSBC said. The bank will add a further $2 billion to its existing share buyback program, taking it to $5.5 billion since the second half of 2016.