Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) Given Average Recommendation of “Buy” by Brokerages

Shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) have received an average recommendation of “Buy” from the twenty-eight brokerages that are covering the stock, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating on the company. The average twelve-month price target among brokers that have covered the stock in the last year is $120.57.

Several analysts have recently weighed in on DRI shares. Canaccord Genuity lifted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $125.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, September 21st. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $121.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Friday, October 5th. Maxim Group lowered shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $112.00 target price on the stock. in a research report on Monday, July 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Mizuho lifted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $125.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, September 21st. Finally, SunTrust Banks boosted their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants to $137.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, September 21st.

In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 60,688 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $112.63, for a total value of $6,835,289.44. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 147,561 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $16,619,795.43. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, COO David C. George sold 55,671 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, October 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $108.24, for a total transaction of $6,025,829.04. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 95,236 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,308,344.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.65% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Schroder Investment Management Group raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 94.3% in the second quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 175,802 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $18,987,000 after acquiring an additional 85,321 shares during the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 290.8% in the second quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,287,465 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $137,836,000 after acquiring an additional 958,040 shares during the last quarter. Carillon Tower Advisers Inc. raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 339.4% in the second quarter. Carillon Tower Advisers Inc. now owns 246,050 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $26,342,000 after acquiring an additional 190,050 shares during the last quarter. Gradient Investments LLC raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 4.7% in the second quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 98,594 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $10,556,000 after acquiring an additional 4,393 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Raymond James & Associates raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 200.7% in the second quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 76,117 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $8,149,000 after acquiring an additional 50,806 shares during the last quarter. 89.28% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Darden Restaurants stock traded up $0.44 during trading on Friday, hitting $105.30. 2,956,463 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,300,418. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.26 and a current ratio of 0.41. Darden Restaurants has a twelve month low of $79.18 and a twelve month high of $124.00. The firm has a market cap of $13.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.89, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.00 and a beta of 0.17.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 7.84% and a return on equity of 30.32%. The business had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.03 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.99 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 6.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post 5.62 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 10th were given a $0.75 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, October 9th. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.85%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 26.20%.

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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