Darden Restaurants (DRI) Research Coverage Started at Buckingham Research

Buckingham Research began coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) in a research note issued to investors on Friday, MarketBeat.com reports. The brokerage issued a buy rating on the restaurant operator’s stock.

Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. BMO Capital Markets cut Darden Restaurants from a market perform rating to an underperform rating and cut their target price for the stock from $105.00 to $96.00 in a research note on Monday, September 24th. Zacks Investment Research raised Darden Restaurants from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $121.00 target price for the company in a research note on Friday, October 5th. Morgan Stanley raised their target price on Darden Restaurants from $103.00 to $110.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research note on Thursday, September 13th. Argus raised their target price on Darden Restaurants to $240.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, September 13th. Finally, SunTrust Banks raised their target price on Darden Restaurants to $137.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, September 21st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and twenty have given a buy rating to the company. Darden Restaurants currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $121.83.

DRI stock opened at $107.99 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 0.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41. The firm has a market cap of $12.95 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.45, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.91 and a beta of 0.33. Darden Restaurants has a 52-week low of $82.38 and a 52-week high of $124.00.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, December 18th. The restaurant operator reported $0.92 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $1.97 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.98 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.48% and a net margin of 8.12%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.73 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants will post 5.67 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, January 10th will be given a dividend of $0.75 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, January 9th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.78%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is currently 13.10%.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in DRI. Cognios Capital LLC boosted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 8.1% during the second quarter. Cognios Capital LLC now owns 28,016 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,998,000 after buying an additional 2,105 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.1% during the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 708,494 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $75,856,000 after buying an additional 7,928 shares during the period. FMR LLC boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 15.2% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 691,196 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $74,000,000 after purchasing an additional 90,947 shares during the period. OppenheimerFunds Inc. boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 19.7% in the second quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 8,837 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $946,000 after purchasing an additional 1,455 shares during the period. Finally, Laurion Capital Management LP purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants in the second quarter valued at $333,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 89.44% 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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