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Shares in insurance giant Standard Chartered (LON:STAN) sunk by 2.50% to 679.40p (as of 11:05 BST) despite a 34% rise in statutory pre-tax profits to $2.3 billion for the six months ended 30th June. Operating income rose by 6%, in line with the group’s medium term forecasting.
Operating expenses also grew by 5%, despite lower regulatory costs, as the company increased investment. However, management warned that geopolitical uncertainty and trade frictions were dragging down an otherwise favourable macroeconomic environment.
Chief Executive Bill Winters said that: “The Group performed steadily in the first half, with encouraging progress on several fronts. Income from key products continues to grow strongly, we are investing in exciting new digital and other transformative initiatives and our strengthened risk discipline is paying off.
Our return on equity improved year-on-year as a result, which reinforces our confidence that we will exceed 8 per cent in the medium term and validates our decision to resume an interim dividend. But I want to be clear that we believe 8 per cent is just a milestone on the route to the sustainably higher returns we can achieve if we continue to execute our strategy with consistency, determination and discipline.”