HSBC said hitting its profitability target this year will be a challenge as the run-off of its U.S. loan book remains a drag, but it said it would stick with its goal to get return on equity (RoE) over 12 percent.

"It will be a challenge to get there (this year)," HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said of the bank's RoE target. "But there are two big run off businesses that distort the number ... core HSBC is already in that target range," he told reporters on a conference call.

Gulliver said the bank will shed up to 14,000 more jobs under its plan to cut another $3 billion in annual costs, but no specific country had been targeted. "These cuts will be spread quite thinly around the world," Gulliver said.

(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Matt Scuffham)