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What You Were Buying Last Week: Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (ADR) (RBS)

RBS Rolls Out Five Rogers Enhanced Commodity ETNsLONDON — One of Warren Buffett’s famous investing sayings is “be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful” — or, in other words, sell when others are buying, and buy when they’re selling.

But we might expect Foolish investors to know that, and looking at what Fools have been buying recently might well provide us with some ideas for good investments.

So, in this series of articles, we’re going to look at what customers of The Motley Fool ShareDealing Service have been buying in the past week or so, and what might have made them decide to do so.

Set to recover?
In the No. 4 spot in the latest “Top Ten Buys” list* is Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (ADR) (NYSE:RBS). The bank hasn’t had a good time of late and was also in the number four position in the “Top Ten Sells” list a couple of weeks ago, just ahead of the announcement of its 6 billion-pound loss, and since when the share price has continue to fall. So what might have persuaded some people that the bank is worth buying?

Perhaps they think the market has been just a bit too unfair on the bank’s share price. Although it’s still over 13% down on its pre-loss-announcement level, there are some indications that the price is stabilizing, and perhaps even set to start a recovery. At the time of writing, it’s up 1.5% on the day.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (ADR) (NYSE:RBS) is also at a quite compelling discount to its tangible net asset value — currently over 30% — which could provide a good upside for investors who are prepared to wait for the share price to play catch-up with the bank’s book value. True, it is still to dispose of a substantial chunk of non-core assets, but there should be value left over that could lift the share price as market sentiment toward the bank improves.

There’s also no doubt that the bank’s balance sheet and share price performance have been hit by various scandals over the past few years — compensation payments for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance and interest rate hedging products, and regulatory fines for LIBOR-rigging have totaled well over 2 billion pounds. If those misadventures are now mostly behind it, the bank’s future should be rather more profitable.  And while it still doesn’t pay a dividend, it may well be in a position to resume paying one by sometime in 2014, which should further improve confidence in the bank.

*Based on aggregate data from The Motley Fool ShareDealing Service.

The article What You Were Buying Last Week: Royal Bank of Scotland originally appeared on and is written by Jon Wallis.

Jon doesn’t own Royal Bank of Scotland.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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