Norges Bank Takes $162.56 Million Position in Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)

Norges Bank bought a new position in Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor bought 2,756,202 shares of the financial services provider’s stock, valued at approximately $162,561,000. Norges Bank owned about 0.84% of Discover Financial Services at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of DFS. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its stake in shares of Discover Financial Services by 5,727.1% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 2,230,742 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $38,000 after buying an additional 2,192,460 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its position in Discover Financial Services by 15.4% during the 4th quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 3,765,063 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $222,063,000 after purchasing an additional 502,539 shares during the period. MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd acquired a new stake in Discover Financial Services during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $28,197,000. Man Group plc increased its position in Discover Financial Services by 95.8% during the 3rd quarter. Man Group plc now owns 953,485 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $72,894,000 after purchasing an additional 466,429 shares during the period. Finally, Squarepoint Ops LLC acquired a new stake in Discover Financial Services during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $23,743,000. 87.29% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of analysts have weighed in on DFS shares. Bank of America set a $80.00 target price on shares of Discover Financial Services and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, January 25th. Stephens reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $80.00 price objective on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research report on Sunday, January 6th. JMP Securities raised their price objective on shares of Discover Financial Services from $74.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “market outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 4th. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of Discover Financial Services from $89.00 to $91.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 6th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reduced their price objective on shares of Discover Financial Services to $85.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, January 25th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $81.07.

In other news, EVP Carlos Minetti sold 7,500 shares of Discover Financial Services stock in a transaction on Friday, February 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.59, for a total transaction of $506,925.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 131,598 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,894,708.82. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Roger C. Hochschild bought 30,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 28th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $66.67 per share, for a total transaction of $2,000,100.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief executive officer now directly owns 834,457 shares in the company, valued at $55,633,248.19. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 117,062 shares of company stock worth $8,124,691. Company insiders own 0.81% of the company’s stock.

Shares of DFS traded down $0.18 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $77.02. The stock had a trading volume of 1,236,664 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,065,307. The company has a quick ratio of 1.44, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.58. Discover Financial Services has a 12 month low of $54.36 and a 12 month high of $80.36. The stock has a market cap of $25.20 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.89, a P/E/G ratio of 1.12 and a beta of 1.60.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 24th. The financial services provider reported $2.03 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $2.09 by ($0.06). Discover Financial Services had a net margin of 21.25% and a return on equity of 26.22%. The company had revenue of $2.81 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.81 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.51 earnings per share. Discover Financial Services’s revenue was up 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Discover Financial Services will post 8.62 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 6th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 24th will be paid a dividend of $0.40 per share. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.08%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 23rd. Discover Financial Services’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 20.54%.

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Discover Financial Services Company Profile

Discover Financial Services, through its subsidiaries, operates as a direct banking and payment services company in the United States. The Direct Banking segment offers Discover-branded credit cards to individuals; and other consumer products and services, including private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, and other consumer lending, as well as deposit products, such as certificates of deposit, money market accounts, savings accounts, checking accounts, and individual retirement arrangement certificates of deposit.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)

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