Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) saw unusually large options trading activity on Monday. Traders acquired 3,217 put options on the company. This represents an increase of 1,177% compared to the average daily volume of 252 put options.

In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 60,973 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $107.34, for a total value of $6,544,841.82. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 162,586 shares in the company, valued at $17,451,981.24. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 2,186 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.06, for a total transaction of $242,777.16. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 792 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $87,959.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 182,236 shares of company stock valued at $19,609,826. 0.65% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Commonwealth Bank of Australia increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 3.1% during the second quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 15,345 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,637,000 after acquiring an additional 459 shares in the last quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 21.1% during the second quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 2,708 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $290,000 after acquiring an additional 471 shares in the last quarter. Catawba Capital Management VA increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.4% during the second quarter. Catawba Capital Management VA now owns 10,225 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,095,000 after acquiring an additional 520 shares in the last quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 29.7% during the second quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 2,335 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $250,000 after acquiring an additional 535 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Castleark Management LLC increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 13.4% during the second quarter. Castleark Management LLC now owns 4,640 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $497,000 after acquiring an additional 550 shares in the last quarter. 89.45% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Shares of NYSE DRI opened at $117.98 on Tuesday. Darden Restaurants has a fifty-two week low of $77.55 and a fifty-two week high of $120.93. The company has a market cap of $14.71 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.70, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.31 and a beta of 0.15. The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 0.40 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, June 21st. The restaurant operator reported $1.39 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $2.13 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.13 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 7.38% and a return on equity of 29.02%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 10.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.99 earnings per share. sell-side analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants will post 5.51 EPS for the current year.

Several brokerages have commented on DRI. Robert W. Baird lowered shares of Darden Restaurants from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, September 10th. Argus raised their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants to $240.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, September 13th. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $103.00 to $110.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, September 13th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $106.00 to $130.00 in a report on Tuesday, September 11th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Oppenheimer raised their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $130.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 5th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $118.09.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

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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