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HSBC posts small rise in first-half profit, as expenses, U.S. settlement weigh

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L) posted a small increase in first-half pretax profit, as rising expenses from investments in a new growth strategy and a $765 million provision against sale of U.S. mortgage securities ate into higher revenues.

Europe’s biggest bank, which is shifting into growth mode after years of shrinking its global empire and restructuring the business, reported on Monday a pretax profit of $10.7 billion in the six months through June, up 4.6 percent from the year-ago period.

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As the bank spent on hiring more frontline staff and expanding digital capabilities, its costs climbed 6 percent to $17.5 billion.

“We are taking firm steps to deliver the strategy we outlined in June. We are investing to win new customers, increase our market share, and lay the foundations for consistent growth in profits and returns,” John Flint, HSBC’s group chief executive, said in a statement.

Flint set out in June a three-year plan to invest $15 billion-$17 billion in areas such as technology and in China.

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