HSBC said pre-tax profits for the year ending December 31 more than doubled from 2009 to $19 billion. According to analysts polled by Reuters Estimates, the average pre-tax profit forecast stood at around $20 billion.
HSBC said it had made a good start to the year but the company cut its long-term return on equity (ROE) target to 12-15 percent from a previous 15-19 percent target.
HSBC shares, which had been trading up 2 percent before the results, fell back and were down 2.4 percent by 0827 GMT.
(Reporting by Steve Slater and Sudip Kar-Gupta)
(Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)