HSBC’s pretax profit of $4.76bn for the three months to ended March 31 compared to with $4.96bn in the year-ago period. Picture: REUTERS
HSBC’s pretax profit of $4.76bn for the three months to ended March 31 compared to with $4.96bn in the year-ago period. Picture: REUTERS

HSBC’s buyback call

HSBC Holdings’ new CEO sought to cheer investors with a share buyback of up to US$2bn, even as the bank reported an unexpected 4% drop in first-quarter pretax profit on Friday due to a surge in investments.

However, Europe’s biggest bank by assets said this would likely be the only share buyback this year, as CEO John Flint looks to deploy more capital into its businesses to tap growth opportunities.

Bigger bite of Apple

Berkshire Hathaway bought 75m additional Apple Inc shares in the first three months of the year, CEO Warren Buffett told CNBC last week, aggressively ramping up its bets on the iPhone maker. Buffett’s Apple commitment over the past two years has surprised many, given his historical aversion to tech companies. Berkshire’s initial investment in Apple was small, suggesting it was made by one of Buffett’s deputies, but with the latest purchase it has grown to a solid 240.3m shares worth $42.5bn.

"If you look at Apple, I think it earns almost twice as much as the second-most profitable company in the US," Buffett told CNBC.

Reuters

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