Europe's biggest bank is in talks to sell its $9.3 bil stake in China's Ping An Insurance as it sheds noncore operations to boost profitability. HSBC (HBC) spent $1.7 bil 2002-05 building the 15.6% stake in the insurer. It could earn a pretax profit of $6.5 bil, according to one analyst. A Chinese newspaper named Dhanin Chearavanont, Thailand's richest man, as a potential buyer. Shares rose 3.3% to 49.30.