AFP, Hong Kong : Banking giant HSBC said on Tuesday that pre-tax profit rose last year but it suffered a bruising final quarter as worries over the global economy and the US-China trade war began to bite. The London-headquartered behemoth told investors it was still aiming to meet targets despite the looming twin storms of Brexit and the long-running trade impasse between Washington and Beijing. But analysts warned it remained vulnerable to any fallout from either issue becoming a full-blown crisis in the year ahead. Overall the year saw strong growth for HSBC with profits before tax up 16 percent at $19.9 billion, net profit ballooning 30 percent to $12.6 billion and adjusted pre-tax profit rising three percent to $21.7 billion. The results capped the first full year at the helm for chief executive officer John Flint, who has vowed growth while keeping a lid on costs. But the yearly growth figures were dampened by a tough final quarter when the markets - especially those in Hong Kong and China - went into meltdown over global trade fears. Adjusted pretax profit fell one percent to $3.39 billion in October-December, missing the $4.4 billion consensus average by Bloomberg News derived from estimates compiled by the bank.
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