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

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) has earned a consensus rating of “Buy” from the twenty-eight ratings firms that are covering the stock, MarketBeat reports. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and seventeen have given a buy rating to the company. The average 1-year price objective among brokers that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $120.57.

A number of brokerages recently weighed in on DRI. Argus lifted their target price on Darden Restaurants to $240.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, September 13th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $126.00 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, July 16th. Goldman Sachs Group raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price target for the stock from $106.00 to $130.00 in a research report on Tuesday, September 11th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Stifel Nicolaus increased their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $125.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 5th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reissued an “overweight” rating and issued a $120.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Monday, July 23rd.

DRI stock traded down $0.06 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $112.18. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 62,936 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,543,730. The company has a quick ratio of 0.26, a current ratio of 0.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41. Darden Restaurants has a 1 year low of $79.18 and a 1 year high of $124.00. The firm has a market cap of $13.73 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.42, a PEG ratio of 2.10 and a beta of 0.17.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its earnings results on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.24 by $0.10. The business had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.03 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.32% and a net margin of 7.84%. The business’s revenue was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.99 earnings per share. Research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will post 5.62 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 10th were issued a $0.75 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, October 9th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.67%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 26.20%.

In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 60,688 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on 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 sale, the insider now directly owns 147,561 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,619,795.43. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, COO David C. George sold 55,671 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Thursday, October 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.24, for a total transaction of $6,025,829.04. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 95,236 shares in the company, valued at $10,308,344.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.65% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Ffcm LLC grew its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 722.1% in the 3rd quarter. Ffcm LLC now owns 49,966 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $143,000 after acquiring an additional 43,888 shares during the period. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 3rd quarter worth about $149,000. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 171.8% during the 3rd quarter. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd now owns 1,571 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $175,000 after buying an additional 993 shares during the period. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 92.9% during the 2nd quarter. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC now owns 1,640 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $176,000 after buying an additional 790 shares during the period. Finally, Smithfield Trust Co. boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 537.3% during the 3rd quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 1,625 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $181,000 after buying an additional 1,370 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 89.43% of the company’s stock.

About Darden Restaurants

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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