Today: Discover Financial Services (DFS) Lowered by The Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

Today: Discover Financial Services (DFS) Lowered by The Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Discover Financial shares have outperformed Zacks categorized Consumer Loan industry year to date. 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.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. JMP Securities upped their target price on Discover Financial Services from $63.00 to $71.00 and gave the stock a “market outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 22nd. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research report on Friday, August 12th. Stephens began coverage on Discover Financial Services in a research report on Friday, November 18th. They set an “underweight” rating and a $62.00 target price for the company. Barclays PLC cut Discover Financial Services from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 7th. Finally, Wedbush began coverage on Discover Financial Services in a research report on Monday, October 10th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $63.00 target price for the company. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating, sixteen have given a buy rating and three have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $64.54.

Shares of Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) traded down 0.56% during trading on Monday, reaching $68.03. 1,050,468 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The stock has a market cap of $26.83 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.38 and a beta of 1.39. The company has a 50 day moving average of $59.32 and a 200 day moving average of $57.11. Discover Financial Services has a 12-month low of $42.86 and a 12-month high of $68.88.

The firm 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 1.75%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, November 1st. Discover Financial Services’s dividend payout ratio is currently 21.74%.

In other news, EVP Kathryn Mcnamara Corley sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.30, for a total transaction of $844,500.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 156,476 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,809,598.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CFO R. Mark Graf sold 25,032 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, October 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.78, for a total value 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.07% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in DFS. Central Bank & Trust Co. raised its stake in Discover Financial Services by 118.5% in the second quarter. Central Bank & Trust Co. now owns 88,438 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $4,739,000 after buying an additional 47,968 shares in the last quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. raised its stake in shares of Discover Financial Services by 18.2% in the second quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 644,631 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $34,547,000 after buying an additional 99,329 shares in the last quarter. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX raised its stake in shares of Discover Financial Services by 5.8% in the second quarter. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX now owns 106,705 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $5,718,000 after buying an additional 5,857 shares in the last quarter. LVM Capital Management Ltd. MI raised its stake in shares of Discover Financial Services by 2.1% in the second quarter. LVM Capital Management Ltd. MI now owns 68,465 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,669,000 after buying an additional 1,415 shares in the last quarter. Finally, F&V Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Discover Financial Services during the second quarter worth about $207,000. 83.54% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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