Discovery Starts New Week with a 7% Nosedive

Discovery Ltd (JSE: DSY) has become a focal point for investors amidst significant fluctuations in its stock price, marking a stark contrast to its successful performance in 2023.  

Despite achieving a robust 16% gain last year, the company’s shares have plummeted by 13% year-to-date, sparking concerns among stakeholders. In 2023, Discovery Group demonstrated resilience, delivering strong performances across key segments, driving substantial growth in premiums, revenue, and market value. Notably, total net income surged by an impressive 29% to R86.4 billion, fuelled by substantial gains in financial asset valuations and increased investment income, consequently leading to notable increases in operating profit and normalized headline earnings. 

However, recent developments have injected uncertainty into Discovery’s trajectory. A voluntary trading statement released by the company indicated a potential variance in headline earnings and earnings per share, eliciting a negative market response. With the stock underperforming the JSE Top 40 Index twice over on a year-to-date basis, investor confidence in Discovery’s prospects has weakened significantly. As stakeholders await further insights from the company’s upcoming reports, the market eagerly seeks clarity on the factors driving the recent downturn and the potential implications for Discovery’s future performance.  

Source: Trive – Koyfin, Nkosilathi Dube 


Discovery Ltd’s share price has experienced significant volatility, plunging below a one-year low amidst a pronounced downtrend. Now trading below the 100-day moving average, the stock initially displayed a symmetrical triangle pattern, suggesting a period of consolidation.  

This equilibrium between bullish and bearish forces was marked by converging highs and lows, with support initially holding steady at R131.59 per share. However, mounting downside pressures led to a breakdown from the R138.43 resistance level, signalling the dominance of sellers. The breach of the R131.59 support level triggered a sharp selloff.  

Yet, at R122.63 per share, selling pressures eased, resulting in a reversal and the establishment of a new support level amid oversold RSI conditions. If buyers enter the market attracted by potential bargains, a sustained reversal may occur, with R131.59 per share likely to serve as a key point of interest to the upside.  


Discovery Ltd’s recent voluntary trading statement disclosed a range for expected headline earnings and earnings per share, suggesting potential variability in financial performance. Headline earnings are forecasted to fluctuate between 3% lower and 2% higher, while earnings per share are projected to range from 2% lower to 3% higher, indicating figures between R478.1 cents and R502.5 cents. 

Despite this outlook, Discovery Group exhibited robust performance across its South Africa (SA), United Kingdom (UK), and Vitality Global (VG) segments during the 2023 financial year, driving substantial growth in premiums and revenue. Operating profit and normalized headline earnings also experienced significant increases, bolstering investor confidence. 

Of particular note, Discovery Life’s operating profit surged by 19%, while the UK Life Business witnessed an impressive 55% increase, underscoring the strength of its business segments. Moreover, total net income soared by 29% to R86.4 billion, propelled by substantial gains in financial assets and increased investment income. Additionally, Discovery’s attractive dividend policy, highlighted by a final gross cash dividend of R1.10 announced last year, resonated well with dividend-seeking investors, further contributing to its positive share price performance. 

As anticipation builds for Discovery’s upcoming half-year earnings report, stakeholders are eagerly awaiting to assess whether the company can maintain its positive trajectory amid evolving market dynamics and the disclosed earnings outlook. 

Source: Trive – Koyfin, Nkosilathi Dube 

Discovery Ltd’s EBITDA margin stands at 11.98%, trailing behind the average of key competitors at 21.41%. Despite this, it remains positioned within the middle ground among its industry peers. Notably, Sanlam’s exceptional performance has contributed significantly to driving the sector’s average higher. This comparison underscores Discovery’s competitive positioning within the market, indicating room for potential improvement to narrow the gap with its rivals. As it continues to navigate the landscape, optimizing operational efficiencies may be crucial for enhancing profitability and maintaining competitiveness in the dynamic financial services sector. 

Source: Trive – Koyfin, Nkosilathi Dube 

Discovery Ltd’s return on equity (ROE) stands at 9.05%, trailing behind the industry average of 15.22% among its key competitors. This discrepancy highlights a performance gap in generating returns for shareholders compared to its peers. Understanding ROE is vital as it indicates how efficiently a company utilizes shareholders’ equity to generate profits. While Discovery’s ROE is below the industry average, it signals an opportunity for the company to enhance its profitability and efficiency in utilizing equity. By improving operational performance and strategic initiatives, Discovery may aim to narrow the gap and align its returns more closely with industry benchmarks. 

Source: Trive – Koyfin, Nkosilathi Dube 

Discovery Ltd’s price-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) sits at 15.9×, positioning it at the upper end of its key competitors, whose average P/E ratio stands at 13.26×. The P/E ratio is a crucial metric used by investors to assess a stock’s valuation relative to its earnings. A higher P/E ratio suggests that investors are willing to pay more for each unit of earnings, indicating potential overvaluation. While Discovery’s P/E ratio exceeds the industry average, it may reflect market optimism and confidence in the company’s growth prospects. 


Discovery Ltd faces challenges, with its stock price plummeting by 13% year-to-date despite robust performance in 2023. Technical analysis reveals a sharp downturn, trading below the 100-day moving average. Fundamentally, while it trails competitors in metrics like EBITDA margin and ROE, its higher P/E ratio hints at market confidence in growth potential. 

Sources: Discovery Ltd, Reuters, Koyfin, TradingView 

Piece Written By Nkosilathi Dube, Trive Financial Market Analyst 

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