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HSBC in limelight amid job cut blow

File photo dated 09/02/15 of people using HSBC cash machines, central London, as the banking giant saw billions more added to its stock market value today as shares rose on reports that it was weighing up a sale of its British retail bank. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 27, 2015. See PA story CITY HSBC. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

BLUE chip major HSBC was in sharp focus today as the banking giant announced plans to cut up to 25,000 jobs globally including as many as 8,000 in the UK.

The group detailed plans of the swingeing job losses as part of chief executive Stuart Gulliver's keenly-awaited strategy update, which will see the group slash annual costs by around $4.5 billion (£2.9bn to $5bn (£3.3bn) by the end of 2017 and sell off its businesses in Turkey and Brazil.

Shares in HSBC slipped marginally as the market digested the details, while the wider FTSE 100 Index clung to its opening mark, up 2.6 points at 6792.7 in early trade.

HSBC was 0.8p lower at 618.7p as the group also confirmed it planned to rename its soon-to-be ring-fenced retail bank in the UK, with speculation mounting that the move could see a return of The Midland brand to the high street.

Fellow blue chip banks were making decent gains, with Barclays up 2.5p to 264.5p and Lloyds Banking Group up 0.5p at 87p.

Supermarket Sainsbury's was another riser, up 1.4p at 248.7p ahead of its trading update tomorrow.

But Diageo eased back after yesterday's impressive rise, seen on reports from Brazil about 3G - the firm behind Heinz and its takeover of Kraft earlier this year - contemplating an offer.

The drinks giant was 7p lower at 1873p today.

In the FTSE 250, Pets at Home was the biggest loser, down 8.9p at 272.2p - a 3 per cent drop - as its biggest shareholder Kohlberg Kravis Roberts nearly halved its stake in the group, raising £288 million by selling 108 million shares.

Private equity giant KKR has retained 24.6 per cent of the company.

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