Principal Financial Group Inc. Trims Stock Position in Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)

Principal Financial Group Inc. lessened its stake in shares of Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) by 5.8% in the 2nd quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 2,670,674 shares of the financial services provider’s stock after selling 164,163 shares during the quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc.’s holdings in Discover Financial Services were worth $315,913,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other large investors also recently modified their holdings of DFS. Baldrige Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Discover Financial Services in the 2nd quarter valued at $28,000. Human Investing LLC acquired a new position in shares of Discover Financial Services in the 1st quarter valued at $25,000. Concord Wealth Partners increased its holdings in shares of Discover Financial Services by 162.9% in the 1st quarter. Concord Wealth Partners now owns 276 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $26,000 after acquiring an additional 171 shares during the period. Cranbrook Wealth Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Discover Financial Services by 3,288.9% in the 1st quarter. Cranbrook Wealth Management LLC now owns 305 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $29,000 after acquiring an additional 296 shares during the period. Finally, Thompson Siegel & Walmsley LLC acquired a new position in shares of Discover Financial Services in the 1st quarter valued at $30,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.28% of the company’s stock.

NYSE:DFS opened at $120.34 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $36.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 7.70, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.13 and a beta of 1.84. The company has a current ratio of 1.24, a quick ratio of 1.24 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.60. The company’s 50-day moving average is $125.62 and its two-hundred day moving average is $114.97. Discover Financial Services has a 12-month low of $51.74 and a 12-month high of $135.69.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, July 20th. The financial services provider reported $5.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $3.68 by $1.87. The company had revenue of $3.58 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.01 billion. Discover Financial Services had a net margin of 36.50% and a return on equity of 46.03%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 34.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned ($1.20) EPS. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Discover Financial Services will post 16.9 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Discover Financial Services announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, July 21st that permits the company to repurchase $2.40 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the financial services provider to reacquire up to 6.4% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 2nd. Shareholders of record on Thursday, August 19th were issued a $0.50 dividend. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.66%. This is a positive change from Discover Financial Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.44. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 18th. Discover Financial Services’s dividend payout ratio is 55.56%.

In related news, EVP Wanjiku Juanita Walcott sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $127.00, for a total transaction of $1,905,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 60,977 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,744,079. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CAO Shifra Kolsky sold 800 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $127.11, for a total transaction of $101,688.00. Following the sale, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 3,610 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $458,867.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 19,624 shares of company stock worth $2,477,843. 0.54% of the stock is owned by insiders.

DFS has been the topic of several recent research reports. Seaport Res Ptn reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research note on Monday, August 30th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Discover Financial Services from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $124.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, July 7th. raised shares of Discover Financial Services from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $101.00 to $150.00 in a research note on Friday, July 9th. Citigroup reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $154.00 price objective (up from $150.00) on shares of Discover Financial Services in a research note on Friday, July 23rd. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on shares of Discover Financial Services from $118.00 to $137.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 29th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $123.41.

About Discover Financial Services

Discover Financial Services is a holding company, which engages in the provision of direct banking and payment services. It operates through the Direct Banking and Payment Services segments. The Direct Banking segment offers Discover-branded credit cards issued to individuals on the Discover Network and other consumer products and services, including private student loans, personal loans, home loans, and other consumer lending and deposit products.

Read More: Terms to Better Understand Call Options

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding DFS? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS).

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

Receive News & Ratings for Discover Financial Services Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Discover Financial Services and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.