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HSBC Gloom Overshadows Dim Spending Hopes

Monday, 4 Aug 2008 | 9:30 AM ET

Mixed economic news this morning, as personal income and spending was better than expected; but the PCE deflator, a measure of inflation, was stronger than expected.

Once again, bank jitters are an issue for the market, this time from HSBC . First-half profit was down 28 percent ($0.65 vs. $0.94); as expected, there was a large hit from bad debts on U.S. home loans ($14 billion).

HSBC Asia delivered 20 percent growth in profits, but management seemed to indicate that growth there was slowing:

"We expect growth in emerging markets to hold up reasonably well, albeit with less momentum than in the recent past. In Asia, compared with buoyant conditions of last year, it is apparent that corporate activity in some sectors is slowing and demand for equity-related and wealth products has reduced as equity markets have declined," HSBC said.

Other banks and financials are trading down slightly.

Elsewhere:

1) Medicare insurer Humana up 5 percent pre-open, beat on slightly stronger revenue growth, and raised its full year guidance.

2) The ripples from the housing market slump continues. Building materials giant Louisiana-Pacific has suspended its dividend of $0.60 a quarter (6.7 percent dividend yield). It will save about $62 million. Earnings have been poor for over a year on the housing slump.

3) Cooper Tire came in in-line with expectations, but topline was higher than expected. The company is facing many headwinds, including soft replacement tire demand and rising raw material costs. Still, raw material costs increased $51 million during the quarter, but it was partly offset by price increases of $32 million.

4) Motorola up as it named a new co-CEO.


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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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