Banking & Finance

RBS Gets Key Upgrade by S&P After Business Update

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (NYSE: RBS) was one of the key figures behind the recent potential Scotland breakaway vote from the United Kingdom. Now that Scotland is remaining inside the U.K., the bank will not have to make good on its promise to relocate to London to protect its credit. Also, S&P Capital IQ has just raised its rating on the bank to Buy from Hold on the heels of the bank’s business update.

S&P Capital IQ also raised its target price by $1 to $14 and raised its 2014 earnings per share estimate to $1.04 from $0.99 in the call. This was based on being at 1.1 times its estimate of year-end 2014 tangible book value per share. The ratings agency said that the RBS third-quarter update highlighted improving economic conditions, higher asset prices in the U.K. and Ireland, and improved impairment guidance. Improvements in housing prices were cited in Ireland.

RBS also said that it sees an acceleration in the wind-down of the non-core portfolio, as well as limited future impairments and disposal losses — partially offset by ongoing challenges in the investment bank.

American Depositary Shares (ADSs) of RBS were up almost 2% at $11.95 in mid-morning trading in New York on Tuesday. The ADSs have traded in range of $9.80 to $12.47 in the past 52-weeks. What matters here more than recent trading is the longer-term picture. RBS ADSs were up above $15 at the start of 2011, and it was even higher than that for much of 2010 and before the recession.

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