Banking giant HSBC set a new European record for half-year earnings after profits rose 53 per cent to £5.14 billion in the first six months of 2004.

The improvement, which was ahead of market expectations, reflects a full contribution from Household, the US consumer finance arm it acquired in 2003.

In Europe, where HSBC generates about a third of its earnings, profits before exceptional items stood at £1.68 billion for the half-year.

Group chairman Sir John Bond described the figures as a solid performance, reflecting revenues growth and a disciplined management of costs.

Tuesday August 03, 2004