BMO Capital Markets Lowers Darden Restaurants (DRI) to Underperform

BMO Capital Markets downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) from a market perform rating to an underperform rating in a report issued on Monday, Marketbeat reports. BMO Capital Markets currently has $96.00 price target on the restaurant operator’s stock, down from their previous price target of $105.00.

Several other research firms also recently commented on DRI. Robert W. Baird downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Monday, September 10th. Argus raised their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants to $240.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, September 13th. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $103.00 to $110.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research note on Thursday, September 13th. Goldman Sachs Group raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a neutral rating to a buy rating and raised their price target for the stock from $106.00 to $130.00 in a research note on Tuesday, September 11th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Maxim Group reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $112.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Thursday, September 20th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $120.09.

DRI stock opened at $112.54 on Monday. The stock has a market capitalization of $13.97 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.87, a P/E/G ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.15. Darden Restaurants has a 12 month low of $77.93 and a 12 month high of $124.00. The company has a current ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.26 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.03 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 7.84% and a return on equity of 30.32%. The firm’s revenue was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.99 EPS. equities research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will post 5.63 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.67%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 9th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 39.29%.

In other Darden Restaurants news, Director William S. Simon sold 2,418 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $112.09, for a total transaction of $271,033.62. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 12,666 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,419,731.94. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 2,186 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.06, for a total transaction of $242,777.16. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 792 shares in the company, valued at $87,959.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.65% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of DRI. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 3.8% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,054,427 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,183,487,000 after buying an additional 401,736 shares in the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 12.3% in the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,621,385 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $280,646,000 after buying an additional 288,019 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 100.8% in the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,520,183 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $162,751,000 after buying an additional 763,239 shares in the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 290.8% in the 2nd quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,287,465 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $137,836,000 after buying an additional 958,040 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.6% in the 2nd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,012,324 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $108,380,000 after buying an additional 53,292 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 89.45% of the company’s stock.

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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