HSBC Holdings, beset by poor dealing profit and slim growth in net interest income, which held back the group's profit growth, has taken strict measures to ensure the same situation does not occur in the second half. After releasing yesterday interim results that fell at the lower end of analysts' expectations, the group's top management stressed that performance in the second half would hinge primarily on dealing profits. Chairman William Purves disclosed that the group had ceased all its proprietary positions in the volatile bond market and was now maintaining a neutral position. Citing the bond market losses as the principal cause of the 86 per cent reduction in dealing profits, he said a halt had been put to all propriety trading ''until the market is more stable''. The move comes on the heels of a GBP449 million (about HK$5.29 billion) plummet in dealing profits in the first six months, compared with the same period last year. The drop was recorded mainly in interest rate trading by its British subsidiary, Midland Bank. Foreign exchange dealings recorded a mild GBP16 million increase to GBP196 million. But interest rate trading resulted in heavy casualties. Proprietary position-taking in interest rate products lost GBP92 million during the period, compared with a profit of GBP75 million in the same period last year. All other trading, also related to interest rates, suffered a loss of GBP31 million against a profit of GBP267 million in the first half last year. ''We have correctly anticipated the US interest rate movements, but were less successful in Europe,'' said chief executive John Bond. The closing out of positions in the debt market by Midland and Hongkong Bank has triggered a GBP5.6 billion drop in the group's assets in Britain to GBP75.58 billion. However, the high toll, which could not be offset by a 31 per cent jump in fees and commissions to GBP1.16 billion, led to a 10 per cent decline in the group's other operating income. Coupled with only a mild increase in net interest income, operating profit before loan provisions, which stood at GBP1.57 billion midway through last year, fell four per cent to GBP1.50 billion. However, assisted by a 60 per cent drop in provisions for bad and doubtful debts, operating profit was propped up to GBP1.29 billion, a 21.3 per cent increase over last year's interim figure. ''This reflected a reduction in the net charge by Midland and Hongkong Bank and was partially offset by an increased charge in Concord Leasing,'' said Mr Bond. The lowering of the bad and doubtful debt charge was the result of a high level of recoveries. Of the total GBP433 million raised during the period, GBP205 million was released and GBP55 million previously written off was recovered. Overall, attributable profit recorded a respectable 13 per cent growth to GBP938 million. Earnings per share were up 12 per cent to 37 pence and a dividend of eight pence will be paid. HSBC GROUP Attributable profit up 15 per cent to HK$11.18 billion, below expectations. Results hit by dealing profit downturn. Pre-tax profit up 24 per cent to GBP1.46 billion. Earnings per share up 12 per cent to 37 pence. HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORP Attributable profit, excluding exceptional, up 7.7 per cent to HK$6.65 billion. HANG SENG BANK Attributable profit up 13 per cent to $3.1 billion. Earnings per share up by the same to HK$1.61. MIDLAND BANK Attributable profit unchanged at GBP282 million, extremely disappointing. Among the group's principal subsidiaries, Hongkong Bank continued to outshine the rest with GBP558 million, contributing 45 per cent of the group's profit before tax, a decline from 63 per cent at the end of 1993. Midland Bank followed suit with GBP282 million attributable profit, 32 per cent of the profit pie. With gradual economic recovery in Europe and the US, Marine Midland and the European operations have turned from loss-making to profit generators, albeit a small eight per cent of the total.