HSBC has reported a rise in its first half profits and announced a share buyback as it prepares to ring-fence its UK retail arm by 2019.
Europe’s biggest bank reported a 5% rise in pre-tax profit of $10.2bn (£7.8bn) for the first six months of 2017, up by about $500m.
As widely expected, the bank has also announced a share buyback of up to $2bn which it expects to complete by the end of 2017.
HSBC shares rose 3% on the news.
The bank’s shares fell back later but its share price has rallied over the past year, helped by the weak pound which makes profits earned abroad more valuable when repatriated to the UK.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, HSBC has been cutting jobs and selling assets to make the group more profitable, while still making dividend payments to shareholders.
“In the past 12 months, we have paid more in dividends than any other European or American bank and returned $3.5bn to shareholders through share buybacks,” HSBC’s chief executive Stuart Gulliver said.
The bank has used share buybacks to offset the impact of shares being paid out as dividends.
The announcement takes the total of HSBC share buybacks since the second half of 2016 to $5.5bn.
Barclays has set aside an extra £700m to meet compensation claims for mis-selling payment protection insurance.
The news came as the bank said costs related to the sale of its Africa business had pushed it into a £1.2bn loss in the first half of the year.
The sale of the Africa business was part of Barclays’ plan to focus on the UK and US.
Stripping out the losses from the Africa sale, Barclays posted a 13% rise in group pre-tax profits to £2.34bn.
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said: “Our business is now radically simplified, the restructuring is complete, our capital ratio is within our end-state target range, and, while we are also working to put conduct issues behind us, we can now focus on what matters most to our shareholders: improving group returns.”
Barclays said it had now set aside a total of £2.1bn to deal with PPI complaints, but this was open to review.
Claims are expected to rise after the Financial Conduct Authority launches a campaign in August to encourage consumers to decide whether to act before the final deadline to bring a PPI complaint in August 2019.
Earlier this year, Barclays sold a near 34% stake in Barclays Africa Group, leaving it with just 15% of the business.
The company said the sale of the stake had led to a loss of £1.4bn, and it had also taken a £1.1bn charge on the sale.
Wigan faced some of it most adverse weather conditions yesterday when residents came up against a tornado and a huge lightning storm. Yesterday afternoon the borough was hit by a mini-tornado, which swept through Hindley, destroying cars, trees and fence panels.
Residents in the Belmont Road area were disturbed by sudden high winds which left a trail of destruction. Firefighters were called out after a tree was uprooted and fell on a car in the Castle Hill Road area. And neighbours have reported a number of windows being broken and debris swept up and hurled through the air. Eyewitness Kirsty Roe, of Belmont Road, said: “There a number of windows which have been taken out and fences have been damaged.
“You can see where a tree has been ripped up and fallen on a car around the corner. “It was weird – there was an almighty bang and our windows started rattling.
“You could see a circle of dust and debris which had been whipped up.” A Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service spokesman confirmed that Hindley firefighters had been called out to deal with a tree which had fallen on a car in the Castle Hill Road area.
A Met Office spokesman said: “There is a chance that a tornado, may have struck in this location. “When people mention tornados they often think about large-scale events which can cause major damage.
“But there can be more localised, smaller events. The key factor will be whether the weather event makes contact with the ground. If it doesn’t, then it’s a funnel cloud, but if it does than it can be classified as a tornado.” At around 10pm last night, the borough was hit again, this time by a huge thunder and lightning storm which ripped through the sky for around 15 minutes.
Spectacular fork lightning lit up the night sky and the heavens opened in a dramatic turn in the weather. Thankfully firefighters have not reported attending to any more damage caused overnight.