Shares of HSBC Holdings rose as much as 3.03 per cent yesterday after analysts raised their target price and the market speculated that it could be the first foreign bank to list on the mainland. By the close of trading, the stock had lost some of its early gains, finishing 1.82 per cent higher at HK$67.30. The bank also plans to sell GBP650 million (HK$7.69 billion) of 15-year bonds, a source told Bloomberg. The notes will be priced to yield 215 basis points more than similar-maturity British government debt. HSBC is managing the sale. Goldman Sachs, which had upgraded the bank even before it gave its first-quarter trading update on Monday, said there were signs the problems at HSBC Finance, the bank's US consumer finance unit, were stabilising and would decline as the business was wound down. The London-based lender said on Monday its pre-tax profit for the first three months was 'significantly higher' than in the fourth quarter of last year, while impairment charges were higher than a year earlier but lower than in the fourth quarter. 'There is a lot more to HSBC than [HSBC Finance],' Goldman said in a report, noting that the bank's commercial banking and personal financial services were resilient, its global banking and markets division was well placed to claim market share and its fast-growing mainland business gave it an extra edge. UBS raised its target price on HSBC to 625 pence (HK$73.47) from 530 pence in anticipation of lower capital costs. It said the new non-performing loans at HSBC Finance were only US$100 million, compared with more than US$2 billion per quarter in the second half of last year, while the shrinking loan book meant only half of the quarterly loss needed to be down-streamed as new capital. 'If continued, this would further reduce the drag on group cash flows that [HSBC Finance] represents.' DBS Group Research upgraded its target price on HSBC to HK$64 from HK$25. However, CLSA maintained its 'sell' call on the stock, with an unchanged target price of HK$28. It said the results from the two US subsidiaries were not positive, as HSBC USA was in loss. 'The numbers [earnings of HSBC Finance] appear good on the surface but are only there due to US$4 billion fair-value gains,' the brokerage said in a report. CLSA added that there were considerable loan portfolio sales from HSBC Finance to HSBC USA, which would cause distortions in sequential comparatives. 'The tone [of HSBC management] overall was cautionary on the outlook, with rising impairments in other regions,' CLSA said. Meanwhile, analysts partly attributed yesterday's share rise to HSBC being in an advantageous position to be the first foreign bank to list on the mainland. Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, who had talks with Vice-Premier Wang Qishan in London on Monday, told reporters they had agreed actions to support British companies listing on the mainland and mainland companies listing in Britain. 'Mr Darling wants China to grant HSBC and other British companies permission to list in China,' Bloomberg quoted British Treasury officials as saying adding that there was no specific timetable. Peter Wong Tung-shun, an executive director of HSBC Asia Pacific, said earlier that the British lender hoped to be among the first batch of foreign companies to float in Shanghai.