Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) has been given a consensus rating of “Hold” by the twenty-seven ratings firms that are currently covering the company, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. The average 1 year target price among brokers that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $84.65.

Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on DRI shares. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $94.00 target price (up previously from $90.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. BMO Capital Markets boosted their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $80.00 to $81.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 30th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 28th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “sector perform” rating and set a $96.00 price objective (up previously from $86.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, June 27th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG lifted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $84.00 to $94.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th.

In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 93,125 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.58, for a total value of $8,528,387.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 165,062 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $15,116,377.96. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 4.6% in the first quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 1,625 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 71 shares during the last quarter. Ledyard National Bank boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 399.4% in the first quarter. Ledyard National Bank now owns 1,638 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $137,000 after buying an additional 1,310 shares during the last quarter. Sippican Capital Advisors purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the second quarter valued at approximately $211,000. Carlson Capital Management purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the second quarter valued at approximately $215,000. Finally, MEMBERS Trust Co purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the first quarter valued at approximately $201,000. 96.55% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (DRI) traded down 0.32% during midday trading on Monday, reaching $89.57. 733,900 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $11.20 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.55 and a beta of 0.28. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $90.26 and a 200-day moving average of $81.93. Darden Restaurants has a 12 month low of $59.50 and a 12 month high of $95.22.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, June 27th. The restaurant operator reported $1.18 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.15 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.68% and a return on equity of 26.18%. The company had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.86 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.10 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 8.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post $4.47 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Investors of record on Monday, July 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.63 per share. This is an increase from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 6th. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.81%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 66.14%.

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Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company. The Company owned and operated 1,536 restaurants through its subsidiaries in the United States and Canada, as of May 29, 2016. The Company’s segments include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining (which includes The Capital Grille, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille (Eddie V’s)) and Other Business (which includes Yard House, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, consumer-packaged goods and franchise revenues).

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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