BRITAIN EARNS HSBC

A sign for HSBC bank is seen at a branch in the City of London, Monday, Aug. 3, 2009. HSBC Holdings PLC, the world’s fifth-largest bank in terms of assets said Monday that profits had fallen by more than half during the first six months of the year. The 51 percent drop in pre-tax profits to 5 billion US dollars (2.98 billion pounds) came after its bad debt charges soared 39 percent to 13.9 billion US dollars (8.3 billion pounds). The figures came on the same day rival Barclays pushed up profits 8 percent to 2.98 billion pounds for the same period. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)