HSBC reports 2018 third quarter earnings

HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, said its third-quarter reported pre-tax profit jumped 28 percent from a year ago to $5.922 billion — slightly missing expectations.

The bank’s revenue for the July-to-September quarter was $13.798 billion.

While analysts had foreseen the improvement in HSBC’s financial report card, they warned that investors would likely pay more attention to the bank’s guidance on its business prospects in the coming months.

“We think there are risks going forward for HSBC,” said Kevin Leung, executive director of investment strategy at Haitong International Securities.

“We’ve seen a flurry of downgrades, we’ve seen the share price coming down,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday ahead of the bank’s earnings release.

HSBC is headquartered in London but most of its revenue comes from Asia.

The bank’s shares — listed in London and Hong Kong — have fallen by more than 20 percent since the start of the year as global growth prospects are increasingly threatened by uncertainties surrounding trade.

A slowdown in economic activity in China will weigh on the bank’s key business in Hong Kong, where lending profitability is stagnating, analysts noted. Adding to the negative outlook is the recent sell-off in global markets, which will challenge the bank’s trading business, the analysts said.

J.P. Morgan Chase is one firm that downgraded its forecast for HSBC.

“The risks as we see it are continued weakness, particularly in the capital markets as well the wealth management business given some of the macroeconomic trends that we see in the region,” James Sullivan, head of Asia ex-Japan equities research at J.P. Morgan Chase, told CNBC’s “Street Signs.”

“HSBC has a significant trade finance business as well so a lot of the trade tensions we’ve talked about will also be risk factors,” he added.

Those risks are likely to steal the limelight from what’s expected to be an improvement in HSBC earnings. The bank is forecast to post a $5.99 billion in profit before tax in the third quarter, 29.8 percent higher than the same period last year, according to data firm Refinitiv.

Revenue is projected to grow 7.7 percent year-over-year to $13.98 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

“I think a lot of investors will be watching the share price performance closely today, maybe today will represent another drop in market value and the share price of the company. So, I think investors need to be cautious about it,” Ronald Wan, non-executive chairman at Partners Financial Holdings, told CNBC’s “Street Signs.”

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