Wednesday, December 29, 2004

HSBC not looking stateside ?

HSBC is reported to be buying Korea First bank - does this indicate that HSBC has put on hold its US expansion plans ?

Rumors earlier this year indicated that HSBC was seriously considering buying Washington Mutual (WM), which has helped the latter's stock to trade in a narrow band.

Korea First bank is tiny ($2.5 billion) compared to Washington Mutual's market cap of $40 billion. So this single purchase by itself won't change HSBC's plans drastically. But this could also be the first in a series of Asian bank acquisitions for HSBC, in which case Washington Mutual may be the loser!

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