Discover Financial Services Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, December 15, 2011. Discover Financial Services is a credit card issuer in the United States and an electronic payment services company.

Discover Financial Services Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 89 cents per share, a rise of 39.1% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from 79 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has dropped from 90 cents during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 229.5% versus last year to $4.02.

Past Earnings Performance: The company has beaten estimates the last four quarters and is coming off a quarter where it topped forecasts by 27 cents, reporting net income of $1.18 per share against a mean estimate of profit of 91 cents per share.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 13.1% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $1.81 billion.

Analyst Ratings: 10 out of 16 analysts surveyed (62.5%) have a buy rating on Discover Financial Services.. This is below the mean analyst rating of 10 competitors, which average 79.2% buy ratings.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit rose more than twofold to $648.8 million ($1.18 a share) from $260.6 million (47 cents a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue rose 2.4% to $2.15 billion from $2.1 billion.

Key Stats:

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue rose 2.5% in the second quarter from the year earlier, climbed 0.5% in the first quarter from the year-ago quarter and 38.9% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF), Visa Inc. (NYSE:V), SLM Corporation (NYSE:SLM), MasterCard Incorporated (NYSE:MA), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), First Investors Financial Services Group (FIFS), Nelnet, Inc. (NYSE:NNI), CompuCredit Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:CCRT), and The Student Loan Corp. (NYSE:STU).

Stock Price Performance: During September 15, 2011 to December 9, 2011, the stock price had fallen $1.38 (-5.3%) from $26.12 to $24.74. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between June 22, 2011 and June 30, 2011 when shares rose for seven-straight days, rising 13.4% (+$3.15) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between September 26, 2011 and October 3, 2011 when shares fell for six-straight days, falling 14.5% (-$3.76) over that span. Shares are up $6.35 (+34.5%) year to date.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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