Broker snap: Goldman Sachs makes Barclays a 'buy'



LONDON (ShareCast) - Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS - news) has added Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) to its 'buy' list with a 12-month price target of 320p.

The investment bank's analysts believe the key could be the announcement of plans to restructure at the group's strategy review meeting on February 12th 2013.

Goldman Sachs commented: "If Barclays delivers on a business plan to generate returns that match the group's cost of capital, the stock could offer sector-leading upside, on our analysis. Meanwhile, in the absence of such a plan, the stock should have some downside support (at 0.5 times 2013 estimated book value of equity per share for a return on equity of 8%). In our view, this creates a compelling risk/reward going into the event."

Goldman believes that an updated business plan to boost capital ratios and provide a plausible path to group return on equity of (at least 11.5%) could encompass three elements:

• Firstly, reiterated targets for UK Retail and Business Banking, Barclaycard and Barclays Wealth
• Secondly, restructuring of Barclays Investment Bank (including balance sheet shrinkage, cost cuts and an exit from sub-scale businesses,
• Lastly, divestment or wind-down of low return operations in Europe Retail and Business Banking, and Corporate Banking.