Back to top

Press Releases

Zacks Equity Research

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Wells Fargo, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Wal-Mart Stores


Trades from $3

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 12, 2016 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Wells Fargo (NYSE:(WFC - Analyst Report) -Free Report),Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:(RBS - Snapshot Report) -Free Report), Inc. (NASDAQ:(AMZN - Analyst Report) -Free Report) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:(WMT - Analyst Report) -Free Report).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Why Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS - Snapshot Report) Scandal Is Much Worse Than Wells Fargo (WFC - Analyst Report)

Let’s make one thing clear: Wells Fargo’s (NYSE:(WFC - Analyst Report) -Free Report) fraudulent account-opening scandal was bad. The company’s response, including its CEO’s apathetic testimony in front of Congress, was nothing short of a national embarrassment.

Would you believe me if I said that the Wells Fargo scandal pales in comparison to the shocking story developing around the Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:(RBS - Snapshot Report) -Free Report)?

You better.

According to a set of leaked files uncovered in a recent Buzzfeed report, RBS staffers were allegedly instructed to knowingly steer healthy businesses towards the bank’s troubled-business unit, the Global Restructuring Group (GRG).

The GRG profited on these businesses by deliberately hitting them with massive fees and interest-rate hikes, before scooping up their assets at fire-sale prices.

And unlike the Wells Fargo scandal, the available evidence suggests that this was a top-to-bottom scheme.

“RBS managers encouraged employees to hunt for ways to boost their bonuses by forcing customers into loan restructuring in order to extract heavy fees as part of a profit drive nicknamed ‘Project Dash for Cash,’” the Buzzfeed News report says.

Through a series of leaked internal emails and documents, the Buzzfeed report revealed this detail and many more, including information on firms that never missed a loan payment being pushed into the GRG; the bank’s property division being passed details that were not available to other bidders when it wanted to acquire assets from GRG businesses; and staff being told to conceal conflicts of interest from customers.

In short, the company documents appear to show that RBS staff at nearly every level were privy to the business-crushing techniques the company employed to force small businesses to the GRG. The files also reveal that 16,000 firms were pushed into the restructuring unit following the financial crash. This includes care homes, farms, and children’s centers.

The Buzzfeed leaks even include executives sending managers “target lists” of loans secured against properties to be used to find potential clients to force into costlier loans.

The BBC spoke to Andi Gibbs, a British architect that was caught up in the GRG scheme. Gibbs claims that RBS told him moving to the restructuring unit would “effectively create financial security.”

“What I’ve always held on to is that I know what I’m doing,” said a teary-eyed Gibbs. “The bank actually secured the failure of this business just by the failure of their actions, absolutely.”

So, what’s the worst part about all of this? The Royal Bank of Scotland is 73% taxpayer-owned. After the financial disaster of 2008, the UK government set up a holding company that bailed out the bank and still holds a majority of the company.

Yes, the Wells Fargo scandal was bad.

But just across the pond, a government-owned bank appears to have deliberately run small businesses into the ground in an effort to turn a profit. Now that’s definitely not good.

Amazon to Open Convenience Stores as Grocery Business Expands

Watch out 7/11: e-commerce giant Inc. (NASDAQ:(AMZN - Analyst Report) -Free Report) is opening a new line of convenience stores as part of its grocery business expansion, according to the Wall Street Journal . The stores will be available to Amazon Fresh subscribers, Amazon’s online grocery delivery and ordering service.

The convenience stores will sell milk, produce, and meats, and other perishable items, as well as drive-up destinations where subscribers can pick up their orders and have them brought to their cars. The WSJ notes, citing people familiar with the matter, that customers will also be able to order goods with a longer shelf life like peanut butter and cereal using a touch screen or tablet for same-day delivery.

Amazon’s initiative comes soon after chief rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:(WMT - Analyst Report) -Free Report) echoed previous statements about its commitment to its own online grocery business. “When Wal-Mart's online sales growth picked up in the fiscal second quarter, growing roughly 12 percent, management attributed part of the acceleration to this service,” writes CNBC .

Even though digital grocery sales have been slow to take off in general, they now account for roughly 2% of total grocery sales in the U.S., according to IBISWorld. A bustling online grocery business could be a huge opportunity for Amazon, especially as consumers grow more accustomed to picking their groceries out online and having them delivered to their doorstop. However, companies like Amazon and Walmart will need to figure out how to handle perishable inventory, as well as managing refrigerated warehouses.

Amazon Fresh costs $15 per month—in addition to the flat $99 per year Amazon charges for Prime—and is only available in California, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, among others. Amazon first launched grocery delivery back in 2007 in Seattle.

Amazon’s interest in brick-and-mortar stores is beginning to pick up in haste. The company recently opened a full-fledged bookstore in Seattle, along with 25 pop-up locations in the U.S.

You are invited to download the full, up-to-the-minute list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" free of charge. Many of these companies are almost unheard of by the general public and just starting to get noticed by Wall Street. They have been pinpointed by the Zacks system that nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015 with a stellar average gain of +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>

RBS currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) but this ranking is based solely on earnings estimate revisions. The impact from the Buzzfeed leaks remains uncertain, and it has yet to lead to analysts slashing their outlook for RBS stock. Be on the lookout for that in the future, but in the meantime, note that RBS has a weak fundamental position already, including an overall grade of ‘D’.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today.

About Zacks is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.

Get the full Report on WFC - FREE

Get the full Report on RBS - FREE

Get the full Report on AMZN - FREE

Get the full Report on WMT - FREE

Follow us on Twitter:

Join us on Facebook:

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.