HSBC share price slides after profits fail to meet forecasts and company cautions over outlook

LONDON – HSBC PLC saw around 4 billion pounds ($6.8 billion) wiped off its market value Monday after it reported worse than expected profits.

Europe’s biggest bank by market value said cost-cutting helped its 2013 profits before tax rise 9 per cent to $22.6 billion compared with $20.6 billion in 2012. The consensus in the markets was for something near $25 billion.

And the company’s earnings per share of $0.84 fell short of the consensus of $0.95.

Gary Greenwood of Shore Capital Stockbrokers said the results “missed our own and company collated market consensus expectations on a number of key metrics.”

Investors also zeroed in on the company’s exposure to emerging markets. Though it is a U.K.-listed company, HSBC has big operations around the world notably in Asia and Latin America.

Though the bank insisted it was optimistic for the long term and saw troubles in the emerging world as a reflection of specific problems, such as uncertain outcomes in elections and large current account deficits, it did say it expected “greater volatility” and “choppy markets” this year.

The company’s share price slid 3.4 per cent to 632 pence.

Overall, the bank said the cost-cutting strategy has made it a leaner organization than in 2011 when Stuart Gulliver took over as chief executive. The bank has since cut some 41,000 jobs out of a workforce of 295,000 in and dumped 63 non-strategic businesses.

“Our performance in 2013 reflects the strategic measures we have taken over the past three years,” said Gulliver, who is in line to receive a bonus of 8 million pounds ($13.2 million), an increase of nearly 7 per cent.