HSBC: Banks have a pulse

As the results of the government's bank "stress test" approach, a number of the financial firms are concerned about how they will raise money if they are told that they need more capital. HSBC (HBC), one of the world's largest banks, gave banks some hope. It brought in over $18 billion as the bank's own investors took advantage of its rights offering.

The success could be based on several things. One is that HSBC has a stronger balance sheet than many other large international banks. More important, investors and analysts may believe that the worst is behind most banks. In the U.S., with some banks talking about repaying TARP funds and a program in place to buy their toxic assets, there is a chance that better earnings may return. A change in mark-to-market accounting rules may push up those results even further.