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

Several other research analysts have also issued reports on DFS. JMP Securities increased 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 reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research report on Friday, August 12th. Stephens assumed coverage on Discover Financial Services in a research report on Friday, November 18th. They issued an “underweight” rating and a $62.00 target price for the company. Barclays PLC lowered Discover Financial Services from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 7th. Finally, Wedbush assumed coverage on Discover Financial Services in a research report on Monday, October 10th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $63.00 target price for the company. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating, sixteen have assigned a buy rating and three have assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Discover Financial Services has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $64.54.

Analyst Recommendations for Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)

Shares of Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) opened at 67.62 on Monday. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $59.64 and its 200-day moving average price is $57.23. The company has a market capitalization of $26.67 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.31 and a beta of 1.39. Discover Financial Services has a one year low of $42.86 and a one year high of $68.88.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 17th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 3rd were issued a dividend of $0.30 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, November 1st. This represents a $1.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.77%. Discover Financial Services’s dividend payout ratio is presently 21.74%.

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In other Discover Financial Services news, Director Michael H. Moskow sold 2,229 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.61, for a total transaction of $126,183.69. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 50,392 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,852,691.12. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CFO R. Mark Graf sold 25,032 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, October 27th. The shares were 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 $6,589,432.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.07% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC boosted its stake in 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 in 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 last quarter. 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 last quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Discover Financial Services during the third quarter worth $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 last quarter. 83.54% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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