Shares in HSBC Holdings dipped almost five per cent on Tuesday morning after interim earnings fell short of market expectations and on news that the bank might face a US$1.6 billion US lawsuit.
The bank said on Monday that pre-tax profit rose to US$14.1 billion from US$12.7 billion a year ago, but missed the market consensus for a US$14.6 billion profit.
HSBC also warned on Monday that it may face a US$1.6 billion settlement with a US regulator over allegations it mis-sold mortgage-backed bonds during the housing bubble.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has alleged 18 banks misrepresented the quality of the collateral backing securities they sold between 2005 and 2008.
In late morning trade, HSBC was down 4.7 per cent, or HK$4.20, at HK$85.35, outstripping the benchmark Hang Seng Index, which was down 1.6 per cent, or 344.81 points, at 21,877.20. .
Hang Seng Bank, which is Hong Kong’s second largest lender and controlled by HSBC, was down 0.3 per cent, or 30 HK cents, at HK$121.20.
On Monday, Hang Seng Bank reported that net profit more than doubled to HK$18.47 billion, helped by higher fee income, one-off accounting gains and lower bad debt charges.
Standard Chartered Bank was down 1.4 per cent, or HK$2.60, at HK$180.50. Standard Chartered is due to release interim profit figures later on Tuesday.
HSBC is attempting to repair its reputation in the United States after authorities there last year fined it US$1.9 billion for compliance failings in Mexico.
That settlement included a deferred prosecution agreement, which meant HSBC avoided being criminally charged but agreed to have a monitor evaluate its improvement in compliance.
HSBC said on Monday that it had added 1,600 compliance and regulatory staff in the first half of this year, despite axing thousands of jobs elsewhere.