Darden Restaurants (DRI) Upgraded to “Overweight” by Stephens

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) was upgraded by Stephens from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday.

A number of other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on DRI. SunTrust Banks set a $94.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, December 11th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $98.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, December 14th. Robert W. Baird reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $104.00 price objective (up from $94.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, December 20th. Maxim Group reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $103.00 price objective (up from $93.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, December 20th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reissued a “market perform” rating and set a $90.00 target price (up from $82.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, December 20th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have issued a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company. Darden Restaurants has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $97.04.

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Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) opened at $84.25 on Monday. The stock has a market cap of $10,407.72, a P/E ratio of 19.55, a P/E/G ratio of 1.60 and a beta of 0.22. Darden Restaurants has a 12-month low of $75.20 and a 12-month high of $100.11. The company has a current ratio of 0.39, a quick ratio of 0.25 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44.

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

In other news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 59,783 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.80, for a total value of $5,786,994.40. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 164,396 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $15,913,532.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 4,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.05, for a total transaction of $417,315.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,513 shares in the company, valued at $729,136.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 74,866 shares of company stock worth $7,252,094. Insiders own 0.63% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the 4th quarter valued at $126,000. Grove Bank & Trust boosted its stake 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 acquiring an additional 1,120 shares in the last quarter. Cetera Advisor Networks LLC bought a new position in Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter worth $200,000. Texas Yale Capital Corp. bought a new position in Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter worth $205,000. Finally, Ifrah Financial Services Inc. bought a new position in Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter worth $208,000. 90.49% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About Darden Restaurants

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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