Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) – Research analysts at Oppenheimer raised their FY2019 EPS estimates for shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. Oppenheimer analyst B. Bittner now anticipates that the restaurant operator will post earnings per share of $5.49 for the year, up from their prior estimate of $5.48.
A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Wells Fargo reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and set a $99.00 price objective (up previously from $92.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. Barclays reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and set a $116.00 price objective (up previously from $108.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. Argus raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $95.67 to $108.00 in a research note on Thursday, December 21st. Maxim Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $112.00 price objective (up previously from $103.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Friday, January 12th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. Darden Restaurants currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $98.13.
Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, March 22nd. The restaurant operator reported $1.71 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ 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 company had revenue of $2.13 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.15 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.32 EPS. Darden Restaurants’s quarterly revenue was up 13.3% on a year-over-year basis.
Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Advisor Partners LLC lifted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 47.8% in the 4th quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 8,291 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $821,000 after purchasing an additional 2,681 shares in the last quarter. Navellier & Associates Inc purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants in the 4th quarter valued at $3,219,000. Tredje AP fonden lifted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 11.0% in the 3rd quarter. Tredje AP fonden now owns 61,850 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $4,873,000 after purchasing an additional 6,110 shares in the last quarter. Trust Department MB Financial Bank N A purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants in the 4th quarter valued at $720,000. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 4.3% in the 3rd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,061,980 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $83,663,000 after purchasing an additional 43,734 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 90.49% of the company’s stock.
In related news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 59,783 shares of Darden Restaurants 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 owns 164,396 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $15,913,532.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 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 transaction of $1,047,784.11. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 20,046 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,947,869.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 74,866 shares of company stock worth $7,252,094 in the last three months. 0.63% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, May 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, April 10th will be paid a $0.63 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, April 9th. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.97%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is currently 58.47%.
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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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