The normally excellent Robert Peston has his thoughts here on HSBC's results this morning. Following on from LLoyd's 70% fall and the disasters at HBOS and expected at RBS - these HSBC results seem to be a shining star.
However, looking at the writedowns they have more than written off now their entire investment in HSBC USA; why don't they just close the business altogether?
Also they are still taking huge write downs, bigger than their rivals. HSBC moved some of it's SIV's (enron-style accounting that was previously hidden) onto their balance sheet in January and are now slowly writing this off. The difference with HSBC is that it has the capacity to do these write off's over time.
As such it will be many quarters before HSBC returns to it previously profitable position. Only by compairing to other banks can this be seen as success....