The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Goldman Sachs Group, Blackstone Group, Bank of America, Barclays and BNP Paribas

CHICAGO, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com 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 the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS-Free Report), The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX-Free Report), Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC-Free Report), Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS-Free Report) and BNP Paribas SA (OTC:BNPQY-Free Report).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Goldman to Sell Stake in Rothesay

Wall Street major Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS-Free Report) has declared the sale of its majority stake in London-based insurer, Rothesay Life Ltd. to private equity giant The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX-Free Report) and Singapore-based wealth fund, GIC Pte.

Under Basel rules, banks are required to maintain a capital cushion to absorb probable losses on assets. The Basel III regulations have made pension businesses less attractive for banks. The tough regulations have forced banks such as Goldman to vend their businesses to comparatively less regulated private equity firms like Blackstone.

While Blackstone and GIC will each take over 28.5% of Goldman's stake, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. will acquire 7%. This will leave Goldman with only 36% stake in Rothesay.

Overall, Goldman is striving to enhance its balance sheet. In April, the bank sold around 80% stake in Global Atlantic Financial Group – the reinsurance business in Bermuda – to institutions and high net worth clients. This move boosted Goldman's Basel III Tier 1 common ratio by 0.5%.

Further, in May, Goldman reduced its exposure to the Chinese economy by selling off its final stake in Beijing-based Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC).

Moreover, in July, Goldman vended its majority equity stake in REDI – a financial technology company – to a consortium of investors including BofA Merrill Lynch, the corporate and investment banking division of Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC-Free Report), Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS-Free Report), BNP Paribas SA (OTC:BNPQY-Free Report), Citadel and Lightyear Capital.

It appears that Goldman has been undertaking these measures to reduce its non-core business exposure. Regulatory pressure to strengthen its capital ratios is likely to have driven the company to take such steps.

Weak capital levels are always risky for the global economy. Additionally, conforming to new capital rules will likely act as deterrents to the present unstable economy. However, these rules will expectedly benefit the financial system in the long run by preventing bank failures and involving less of taxpayers' money for the bailout of troubled financial institutions.

Goldman currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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

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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 http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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