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Discover Financial Services Declares Its Next Dividend Ahead of Earnings Release

By Eric Volkman – Jul 22, 2020 at 3:00PM

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The company kept its quarterly payout steady.

Discover Financial Services (DFS -3.62%) stock was on the rise Wednesday in the brief period between its latest dividend declaration and the release of its second-quarter results. Discover's board of directors has declared a quarterly payout of $0.44 per share of the company's common stock, which yields just under 3.5% at the current share price. This is to be handed out on Sept. 3 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 20.

That amount matches each of the last four distributions. Since mid-2013, the dividend has risen steadily, from $0.20 per share to the present level.

Man putting a card reading DIVIDENDS into his suit breast pocket.

Image source: Getty Images.

Discover is unique among its peers. Although it has a large payment card operation and is therefore part of the group that includes mighty Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, it also has a sizable online bank. 

That isn't necessarily a comfortable blend at the moment, since banks are being hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Widespread defaults on debt are expected, and lenders have been adding heavily to their loan-loss provisioning -- which has driven their bottom lines downward, frequently into the red.

In the first quarter, Discover more than doubled its loan-loss provisioning from the year-prior amount to more than $1.8 billion, which flipped it to a net loss of $61 million, compared to the $726 million profit it booked in Q1 2019.

The company will report its Q2 results after market close on Wednesday. On average, analysts are expecting a profit, albeit only a small one at $0.05 per share, on $26.3 billion in revenue. If those forecasts are accurate, the numbers would represent year-over-year declines of 98% and 8%, respectively.

In late afternoon trading on Wednesday, Discover's shares were up 2.4%, well outpacing the fractional gains of the broader stock market indexes and many of its financial services peers.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Mastercard and Visa. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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