HSBC weighs on banks as European stocks advance

HSBC was expected to release the bank's annual results later in the day on February 20. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2018
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HSBC weighs on banks as European stocks advance

LONDON: European shares rose on Tuesday thanks to a slew of well-received results, though banks were a weak spot after HSBC reported weaker than expected earnings and said it needed as much as $7 billion of fresh capital.
The pan-regional STOXX 600 benchmark ended the session with a gain of 0.6 percent, while the banking index declined 0.1 percent.
A weaker euro also helped euro zone stocks make headway after a lacklustre start to the week.
HSBC dropped 3 percent after its trading update, the last under outgoing CEO Stuart Gulliver, who has pushed through a painful restructuring of Europe’s biggest bank by market value.
Credit Suisse analysts said HSBC’s pledge to undertake share buybacks “as and when appropriate” could mark a change in capital-return strategy by the new management.
Elsewhere, some positive earnings buoyed sentiment.
Edenred was among top performers, rising 6.5 percent after the French provider of prepaid meal vouchers and cards reported record 2017 earnings, increased its dividend and expressed confidence for 2018.
Danish software developer Simcorp led the STOXX index with a 12.2 percent rise after its full-year results.
Energy stocks supported indices, with BP, Total , Royal Dutch Shell and ENI up between 0.2 percent and 1.6 percent.
Among regional indexes, London’s FTSE 100 was flat, with the world’s biggest miner, BHP, joining HSBC among fallers as it dropped by 4.6 percent after missing results forecasts.
InterContinental Hotels fell 2.7 percent after putting shareholder payouts on ice as it pursues a new strategy to accelerate growth.
Swiss financial software company Temenos was 6 percent lower after news that it was in talks to buy British rival Fidessa Group for about 1.4 billion pounds.
Germany’s HeidelbergCement gained 0.3 percent after raising its target for savings resulting from the takeover of Italcementi for the third time in less than a year.


Damac chief confident of Dubai property market recovery by 2021

Updated 12 November 2018
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Damac chief confident of Dubai property market recovery by 2021

DUBAI: One of the UAE’s leading property developers believes that the property market will pick up again by 2021.
Hussain Sajwani, the billionaire founder and chairman of Dubai-based Damac Properties, told a World Economic Forum meeting in the UAE that it could take “a few years” before the current phase of the property cycle reversed, boosted by foreign buyers, especially those from China.
“As you appreciate the property market is cyclical everywhere in the world — and you see a few years up, and a few years down.

“We had our chance of a (bull) market from 2012 to 2015 … Then in 2016 we started seeing some slowdown with the oil prices coming down,” he said at the WEF’s Global Future Councils gathering in Dubai.
“This year has been a difficult year and I think next year will be another difficult year. I don’t see it’s going to be better than this year. We’re in that cycle of slowdown and it will take a few years. I hope that by 2020 with the Expo coming in, more people will be coming to Dubai,” he added.
Some real estate experts have forecast a recovery to the Dubai property market next year, as the expected “Expo 2020 effect” boosts the economy.
Sajwani was confident of the long-term attractions of Dubai.

“I genuinely believe Dubai is still a hidden jewel and a lot of people around the world still want to come to Dubai and they love it,” he said.
“If we just take one country, like China, if we can attract another few million tourists from China we can get more people to come here, spend time, buy property… and retail … I would hope by the end of 2020 or 2021 we start coming out of this slowdown.”