Trading Report: Today, Discover Financial Services (DFS) Upgrade to Buy at The Zacks Investment Research

Today, Discover Financial Services (DFS) Upgrade to Buy at The Zacks Investment Research

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. The brokerage presently has a $76.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target suggests a potential upside of 11.31% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Discover Financial shares have outperformed Zacks categorized Consumer Loan industry over the last three months. The company's third quarter earnings per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate mainly on higher revenues. The company remains well positioned for growth given its strength in credit card business. The U.S. consumer finance industry remains healthy amid a declining unemployment and improving housing sector. Discover Financial, with strong brand recognition, product innovation and customer acquisition strategies, will continue to benefit from the broader favorable trends.  Management anticipates total loan portfolio which comprises credit card loans, personal loans and private student loans to grow in the range of 4–6% for 2016. However, stiff competition, lawsuit damages and regulatory challenges as well as weakness in the Payment Services segment and escalating expenses remain headwinds.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on DFS. JMP Securities increased their target price on Discover Financial Services from $63.00 to $71.00 and gave the company a “market outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday. Stephens initiated coverage on Discover Financial Services in a report on Friday, November 18th. They set an “underweight” rating and a $62.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group raised their price objective on Discover Financial Services from $66.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, September 1st. Barclays PLC cut Discover Financial Services from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 7th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG restated a “buy” rating and set a $63.00 price objective on shares of Discover Financial Services in a report on Thursday, August 18th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, seventeen have assigned a buy rating and three have given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $64.54.

Shares of Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) opened at 68.28 on Friday. Discover Financial Services has a one year low of $42.86 and a one year high of $68.34. The stock has a market cap of $26.93 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.43 and a beta of 1.39. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $58.93 and its 200 day moving average price is $57.02.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 17th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 3rd were given a dividend of $0.30 per share. This represents a $1.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.76%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, November 1st. Discover Financial Services’s payout ratio is 21.74%.

In other news, CFO R. Mark Graf sold 25,032 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.78, for a total transaction of $1,421,316.96. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 116,052 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,589,432.56. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO David W. Nelms sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.46, for a total value of $846,900.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 1,727,268 shares in the company, valued at $97,521,551.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.07% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of Discover Financial Services by 4.9% in the third quarter. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC now owns 6,846 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $452,000 after buying an additional 319 shares during the last quarter. ETRADE Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Discover Financial Services by 25.8% in the third quarter. ETRADE Capital Management LLC now owns 37,950 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $2,146,000 after buying an additional 7,791 shares during the period. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its position in shares of Discover Financial Services by 5.9% in the third quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 8,409 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $472,000 after buying an additional 468 shares during the period. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Discover Financial Services during the third quarter worth about $6,976,000. Finally, Colony Group LLC raised its position in shares of Discover Financial Services by 16.8% in the third quarter. Colony Group LLC now owns 30,961 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,751,000 after buying an additional 4,446 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.10% of the company’s stock.

Discover Financial Services Company Profile

Discover Financial Services (DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company. The Company is a bank holding company, as well as a financial holding company. The Company operates through two segments: Direct Banking, which includes consumer banking and lending products, specifically Discover-branded credit cards issued to individuals and small businesses on the Discover Network and other consumer banking products and services, including personal loans, home equity loans, and other consumer lending and deposit products, and Payment Services segment, which includes PULSE and its Network Partners business.

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