Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Monday. The firm presently has a $72.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target suggests a potential upside of 8.55% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Discover Financial’s inorganic growth remains strong and its solid cash position enables efficient capital deployment. Over last few quarters, the company achieved its targeted loan growth along with significant profitability. Effective control on expenses helped the company register substantial bottom-line growth. In addition to these, extensive student loan portfolio, global expansions, prudent capital management and increased card sales remain long-term growth drivers for Discover Financial. The company's third quarter earnings of $1.56 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.4% and  improved 13% year over year, mainly on higher revenues. However, stiff competition, lawsuit damages and regulatory challenges as well as weakness in the Payment Services segment and escalating expenses are headwinds.”

Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on the company. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research note on Friday, October 28th. Wedbush started coverage on Discover Financial Services in a research note on Monday, October 10th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $63.00 target price for the company. Deutsche Bank AG set a $65.00 target price on Discover Financial Services and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 5th. Barclays PLC downgraded Discover Financial Services from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 7th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research note on Tuesday, August 23rd. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, seventeen have issued a buy rating and three have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Discover Financial Services has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $64.13.

Analyst Recommendations for Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)

Shares of Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) opened at 66.33 on Monday. Discover Financial Services has a 1-year low of $42.86 and a 1-year high of $66.36. The company has a market cap of $26.16 billion, a PE ratio of 12.07 and a beta of 1.39. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $56.75 and its 200-day moving average is $56.41.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 17th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 3rd will be given a $0.30 dividend. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.81%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 1st. Discover Financial Services’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 21.74%.

In other Discover Financial Services news, CEO David W. Nelms sold 15,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.46, for a total value of $846,900.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 1,727,268 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $97,521,551.28. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CFO R. Mark Graf sold 25,032 shares of the business’s 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 completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 116,052 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,589,432.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.07% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Quadrant Capital Group LLC boosted its position in Discover Financial Services by 0.3% in the second quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 4,255 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $224,000 after buying an additional 14 shares in the last quarter. EP Wealth Advisors Inc. boosted its position in Discover Financial Services by 0.4% in the first quarter. EP Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 3,986 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $203,000 after buying an additional 16 shares in the last quarter. MSI Financial Services Inc boosted its position in Discover Financial Services by 0.4% in the third quarter. MSI Financial Services Inc now owns 10,530 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $595,000 after buying an additional 39 shares in the last quarter. Washington Trust Bank boosted its position in Discover Financial Services by 1.2% in the third quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 3,809 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $215,000 after buying an additional 44 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Pitcairn Co. boosted its position in Discover Financial Services by 1.0% in the second quarter. Pitcairn Co. now owns 5,216 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $280,000 after buying an additional 50 shares in the last quarter. 86.98% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Discover Financial Services

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:DFS

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