Buckingham Research began coverage on shares of Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) in a research note issued to investors on Monday, Marketbeat.com reports. The firm issued a buy rating and a $74.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on DFS. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Discover Financial Services from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. William Blair restated an outperform rating on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research note on Tuesday, July 18th. Instinet restated a buy rating and set a $81.00 price target (down previously from $86.00) on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a buy rating and set a $75.00 price target (down previously from $82.00) on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded Discover Financial Services from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 1st. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Discover Financial Services has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $73.63.

Shares of Discover Financial Services (NYSE DFS) opened at 65.49 on Monday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $60.48 and a 200-day moving average price of $61.86. Discover Financial Services has a 12 month low of $53.91 and a 12 month high of $74.33. The stock has a market cap of $24.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.30 and a beta of 1.47.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The financial services provider reported $1.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.45 by ($0.05). The firm had revenue of $2.42 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.40 billion. Discover Financial Services had a return on equity of 21.28% and a net margin of 20.91%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 9.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.47 EPS. On average, analysts expect that Discover Financial Services will post $5.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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Discover Financial Services declared that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Wednesday, June 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $2.23 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the financial services provider to repurchase up to 9.5% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 7th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, August 24th were issued a $0.35 dividend. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.14%. This is a boost from Discover Financial Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.30. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, August 22nd. Discover Financial Services’s payout ratio is 24.18%.

In other news, CEO David W. Nelms sold 30,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.13, for a total value of $1,833,900.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,559,912 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $95,357,420.56. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Carlos Minetti sold 8,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.51, for a total value of $516,080.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 157,002 shares of company stock valued at $9,694,424. Insiders own 0.96% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Discover Financial Services by 3,280.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 30,704,582 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $2,099,886,000 after acquiring an additional 29,796,268 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Discover Financial Services by 0.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 25,748,479 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,601,297,000 after purchasing an additional 217,535 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its position in shares of Discover Financial Services by 0.7% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 12,546,613 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $858,062,000 after purchasing an additional 91,440 shares during the period. Capital World Investors grew its position in shares of Discover Financial Services by 18.3% in the second quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 10,578,342 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $657,867,000 after purchasing an additional 1,638,334 shares during the period. Finally, FMR LLC grew its position in shares of Discover Financial Services by 17.4% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 10,374,397 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $645,184,000 after purchasing an additional 1,534,882 shares during the period. 85.45% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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 and Payment Services. It provides direct banking products and services, and payment services through its subsidiaries.

Analyst Recommendations for Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)

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