Investors bought shares of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) on weakness during trading hours on Friday. $24.65 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $22.05 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $2.60 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Darden Restaurants had the 14th highest net in-flow for the day. Darden Restaurants traded down ($0.04) for the day and closed at $62.03

A number of equities analysts recently commented on the stock. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Saturday, April 2nd. Sanford C. Bernstein assumed coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Thursday, May 26th. They set a “market perform” rating on the stock. Sterne Agee CRT reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Monday, May 16th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $66.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, April 6th. Finally, Barclays PLC lowered their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $81.00 to $80.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, April 6th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $72.80.

The firm has a market cap of $7.84 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.40. The company has a 50 day moving average of $66.25 and a 200-day moving average of $64.28.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, June 30th. The restaurant operator reported $1.10 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.02. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.01 earnings per share. The business had revenue of $1.79 billion for the quarter. The firm’s revenue was down 4.7% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts predict that Darden Restaurants Inc. will post $3.88 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, August 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 11th will be given a dividend of $0.56 per share. This represents a $2.24 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.61%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 7th. This is a boost from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.50.

In other news, Director Alan N. Stillman sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, April 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.50, for a total transaction of $127,000.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 3,100 shares in the company, valued at $196,850. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link.

Several large investors recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.2% in the fourth quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 11,471,613 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $730,053,000 after buying an additional 566,686 shares in the last quarter. Marshall Wace LLP bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter valued at $27,477,000. BHF Kleinwort Benson Group S.A. bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter valued at $12,890,000. WBI Investments Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 182.3% in the fourth quarter. WBI Investments Inc. now owns 288,824 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $18,381,000 after buying an additional 186,512 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Schroder Investment Management Group bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter valued at $11,729,000.

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full service restaurant company. The Company owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants. The Company’s restaurant brands include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Wildfish Seafood Grill and Yard House.

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