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HSBC profit disappoints

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HSBC profit disappoints

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Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC, saw its shares fall after posting a worse than expected 5.25 billion euro annual pretax profit.

That was down from nearly seven billion euros in 2008 and much lower than the 8.4 billion that was the average forecast by analysts.

One reason was an increase in loans, made particularly in the Middle East, that were not paid back. The bank said the loan situation in the US was improving

It also risked public anger over bonuses. Three of its investment bankers will get more than 10 million euros each, mostly in shares over the next three years.

The chief executive Michael Geoghegan is to give his bonus of around 4.5 million euros to charities.