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

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. In addition to these, extensive student loan portfolio, global expansions and increased card sales remain long-term growth drivers for Discover Financial. The company's third quarter earnings per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved year over year as well, mainly on higher revenues. 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 commented on DFS. RBC Capital Markets reiterated a “top pick” rating and issued a $73.00 price target (up from $68.00) on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research note on Wednesday, July 20th. Credit Suisse Group AG cut their target price on shares of Discover Financial Services from $62.00 to $56.98 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, July 20th. Jefferies Group restated a “buy” rating and set a $66.00 target price on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research report on Wednesday, July 20th. Deutsche Bank AG set a $65.00 target price on shares of Discover Financial Services and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 5th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating and set a $63.00 target price on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research report on Wednesday, July 20th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, sixteen have issued a buy rating and three have given a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $64.13.

Analyst Recommendations for Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) traded up 0.75% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $65.74. 1,414,947 shares of the stock traded hands. The company’s 50 day moving average is $57.50 and its 200 day moving average is $56.61. Discover Financial Services has a 12 month low of $42.86 and a 12 month high of $67.18. The company has a market cap of $25.93 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.96 and a beta of 1.39.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 17th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 3rd will be given a dividend of $0.30 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 1st. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.84%. Discover Financial Services’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 21.74%.

In other Discover Financial Services news, EVP Diane E. Offereins sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.45, for a total transaction of $564,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 308,962 shares in the company, valued at $17,440,904.90. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Kathryn Mcnamara Corley sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.30, for a total transaction of $844,500.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 156,476 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,809,598.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.07% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in Discover Financial Services by 1.6% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 25,018,247 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,340,727,000 after buying an additional 394,393 shares during the period. Boston Partners raised its position in Discover Financial Services by 11.9% in the second quarter. Boston Partners now owns 16,727,596 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $896,432,000 after buying an additional 1,784,386 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its position in Discover Financial Services by 0.4% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 10,857,013 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $613,964,000 after buying an additional 47,257 shares during the period. LSV Asset Management raised its position in Discover Financial Services by 1.3% in the third quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 7,015,656 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $396,735,000 after buying an additional 90,549 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Advisors LLC raised its position in Discover Financial Services by 10.4% in the third quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 5,502,924 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $311,190,000 after buying an additional 516,575 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.98% of the company’s stock.

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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