Tuesday, May 15, 2007

HSBC dips after U.S. mortgage bad debts rise (Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research shares drifted lower on Tuesday after Europe's biggest bank reported another big jump in bad debts at its U.S.-based consumer finance arm, although it saw the value of its stake in a Chinese bank soar.

HSBC Finance said in a regulatory filing late on Monday its net income was $541 million in the first quarter, down 39 percent from a year earlier. The unit set aside $1.7 billion for credit losses, almost double a year ago.

Dozens of lenders to the U.S. subprime mortgage market were hit hard by a sharp downturn last year, forcing HSBC -- one of the biggest players in the segment -- to write off bad debts of $10.6 billion, compared to $7.8 billion in 2005.

On Monday, HSBC Finance said quarterly mortgage credit performance was "in line" with expectations, and that delinquencies are rising more slowly than in prior quarters.

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