City round-up

China slowdown hits HSBC; vegan rolls feed Greggs


Europe’s largest bank has been hit by the slowdown in China and its shares fell 2% in Hong Kong.

It posted a near-16% rise in profit before tax of $19.9bn (£15.4bn) last year, compared to $17.2bn in 2017. Analysts had expected around $22bn.

Chief executive John Flint said: “Despite more challenging market conditions at the end of the year and a weaker global economic outlook, we are committed to the targets we announced in June.”

The bank intends to increase the salaries of its directors by 3.3% this year which the bank says is in line with with the average for its UK employees. It is the first salary rise for executive directors since 2011.


The fast food chain says it “has made an exceptionally strong start to 2019” helped by the launch of its vegan sausage roll.

Total sales in the seven weeks to 16 February grew by 14.1%, compared with 6.2% – and like-for-like sales – which strip out new shop openings – in company-managed shops increased by 9.6%, compared with 2.9% a year ago. It now expects its profits to be higher than expected.

“Overall the board now anticipates that 2019 full year underlying profit before tax (excluding exceptional charges) is likely to be ahead of its previous expectations”.

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