Investors Purchase High Volume of Put Options on Darden Restaurants (DRI)

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) saw some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Stock investors purchased 3,728 put options on the company. This is an increase of 1,473% compared to the typical volume of 237 put options.

DRI has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Raymond James raised shares of Darden Restaurants to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, April 2nd. Mizuho initiated coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Thursday, March 15th. They set a “buy” rating and a $105.00 price target for the company. Maxim Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $112.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, March 14th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $106.00 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, March 12th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus lowered their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $105.00 to $100.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, March 23rd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company. Darden Restaurants currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $98.43.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in DRI. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter worth approximately $126,000. Jacobi Capital Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 79.3% in the first quarter. Jacobi Capital Management LLC now owns 1,585 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $133,000 after acquiring an additional 701 shares during the period. TLP Group LLC grew its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 761.3% in the first quarter. TLP Group LLC now owns 2,093 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $178,000 after acquiring an additional 1,850 shares during the period. Ostrum Asset Management bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the first quarter worth approximately $180,000. Finally, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter worth approximately $200,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.94% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Darden Restaurants stock opened at $85.94 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44, a current ratio of 0.39 and a quick ratio of 0.25. The stock has a market capitalization of $10.77 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.92, a PEG ratio of 1.67 and a beta of 0.22. Darden Restaurants has a 52-week low of $87.01 and a 52-week high of $87.63.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, March 22nd. The restaurant operator reported $1.71 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.64 by $0.07. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.92% and a return on equity of 28.12%. The business had revenue of $2.13 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.15 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.32 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.3% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts predict that Darden Restaurants will post 4.77 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, May 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, April 10th were paid a $0.63 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, April 9th. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.93%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 62.69%.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. As of June 27, 2017, it owned and operated approximately 1,700 restaurants under the Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, and Eddie V's brands.

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