Jefferies Group Analysts Lift Earnings Estimates for Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI)

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Jefferies Group boosted their Q3 2018 earnings per share estimates for Darden Restaurants in a report released on Thursday. Jefferies Group analyst A. Barish now forecasts that the restaurant operator will post earnings per share of $1.64 for the quarter, up from their previous estimate of $1.49. Jefferies Group has a “Hold” rating and a $90.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ Q4 2018 earnings at $1.41 EPS and FY2018 earnings at $4.76 EPS.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, December 19th. The restaurant operator reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 26.24% and a net margin of 6.46%.

A number of other analysts have also commented on the company. Barclays reiterated an “overweight” rating and set a $116.00 price target (up from $108.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Tuesday. BMO Capital Markets set a $99.00 price target on Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, January 12th. Credit Suisse Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Friday, January 12th. SunTrust Banks set a $104.00 target price on Darden Restaurants and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 11th. Finally, Maxim Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $112.00 target price (up from $103.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have issued a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $96.22.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (DRI) traded down $1.28 during trading on Monday, reaching $96.74. The company had a trading volume of 1,565,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,612,290. The company has a market capitalization of $12,080.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.37, a P/E/G ratio of 1.90 and a beta of 0.20. Darden Restaurants has a 1-year low of $71.43 and a 1-year high of $100.11. The company has a quick ratio of 0.20, a current ratio of 0.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. M&R Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants in the second quarter valued at $108,000. D.A. Davidson & CO. grew its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.7% in the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 1,271 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $114,000 after purchasing an additional 21 shares in the last quarter. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth about $115,000. Grove Bank & Trust grew its position in Darden Restaurants by 155.6% during the third quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 1,840 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $145,000 after buying an additional 1,120 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Campbell & CO Investment Adviser LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth about $208,000. Institutional investors own 91.83% of the company’s stock.

In other news, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 4,300 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.05, for a total value of $417,315.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,513 shares in the company, valued at $729,136.65. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Ricardo Cardenas sold 10,783 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.17, for a total value of $1,047,784.11. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 20,046 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,947,869.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 74,866 shares of company stock valued at $7,252,094. 0.63% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be given a $0.63 dividend. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.60%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, January 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 63.48%.

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Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company. The Company owned and operated 1,536 restaurants through its subsidiaries in the United States and Canada, as of May 29, 2016. The Company’s segments include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining (which includes The Capital Grille, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille (Eddie V’s)) and Other Business (which includes Yard House, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, consumer-packaged goods and franchise revenues).

Earnings History and Estimates for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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