Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) Given Average Rating of “Buy” by Analysts

Shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) have received an average rating of “Buy” from the twenty-seven ratings firms that are currently covering the stock, Marketbeat Ratings reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The average twelve-month price objective among analysts that have covered the stock in the last year is $132.74.

A number of equities research analysts have weighed in on the company. Citigroup cut their target price on Darden Restaurants from $146.00 to $144.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, June 28th. Evercore ISI assumed coverage on Darden Restaurants in a research report on Tuesday, June 11th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $135.00 target price for the company. Stephens downgraded Darden Restaurants from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $121.75 target price for the company. in a research report on Friday, June 28th. Wedbush cut their target price on Darden Restaurants from $130.00 to $125.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, June 21st. Finally, Deutsche Bank assumed coverage on Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday, June 28th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $123.00 target price for the company.

In other Darden Restaurants news, SVP John W. Madonna sold 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $124.12, for a total transaction of $124,120.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 8,726 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,083,071.12. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Daniel J. Kiernan sold 12,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $123.92, for a total transaction of $1,487,040.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 14,577 shares in the company, valued at $1,806,381.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 96,907 shares of company stock worth $11,975,585 in the last ninety days. 0.65% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 1.5% during the 2nd quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. now owns 5,334 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $649,000 after purchasing an additional 81 shares during the period. NuWave Investment Management LLC raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 34.5% during the 2nd quarter. NuWave Investment Management LLC now owns 351 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $43,000 after purchasing an additional 90 shares during the period. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 1.8% during the 4th quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 5,410 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $540,000 after purchasing an additional 95 shares during the period. Wealthfront Advisers LLC raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 2.9% during the 1st quarter. Wealthfront Advisers LLC now owns 3,941 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $479,000 after purchasing an additional 112 shares during the period. Finally, Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 20.8% during the 1st quarter. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC now owns 655 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $79,000 after purchasing an additional 113 shares during the period. 88.61% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

DRI traded up $0.38 during trading on Tuesday, reaching $122.43. The stock had a trading volume of 1,484,083 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,014,175. The stock has a market cap of $15.02 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.04, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 0.32. The company has a quick ratio of 0.46, a current ratio of 0.61 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39. Darden Restaurants has a 1-year low of $95.83 and a 1-year high of $126.75. The stock has a 50 day simple moving average of $122.70.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its earnings results on Thursday, June 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.76 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.73 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $2.23 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.24 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 31.61% and a net margin of 8.38%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.39 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will post 6.39 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, August 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, July 10th were issued a $0.88 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, July 9th. This represents a $3.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.88%. This is a boost from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.75. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is currently 60.48%.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. As of May 27, 2018, it owned and operated approximately 1,746 restaurants under the Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, and Eddie V's brands.

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Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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