Shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) have been assigned an average rating of “Buy” from the twenty-seven analysts that are covering the stock, Marketbeat reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, nine have given a hold recommendation and sixteen have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 12 month price target among brokers that have covered the stock in the last year is $121.38.

Several analysts have issued reports on the stock. Mizuho increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants to $115.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 22nd. Jefferies Financial Group increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $90.00 to $100.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, June 22nd. Stephens increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $105.00 to $125.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, June 22nd. SunTrust Banks increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants to $117.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 22nd. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants to $115.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, June 21st.

In other news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 60,688 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.63, for a total transaction of $6,835,289.44. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 147,561 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,619,795.43. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 2,186 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $111.06, for a total value of $242,777.16. Following the transaction, 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 118,545 shares of company stock valued at $13,103,896. Company insiders own 0.65% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in DRI. Schroder Investment Management Group lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 94.3% during the second quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 175,802 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $18,987,000 after purchasing an additional 85,321 shares during the last quarter. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC bought a new position in Darden Restaurants during the first quarter worth $247,000. Carillon Tower Advisers Inc. lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 339.4% during the second quarter. Carillon Tower Advisers Inc. now owns 246,050 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $26,342,000 after purchasing an additional 190,050 shares during the last quarter. Gradient Investments LLC lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 4.7% during the second quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 98,594 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $10,556,000 after purchasing an additional 4,393 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Millennium Management LLC lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 290.8% during the second quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,287,465 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $137,836,000 after purchasing an additional 958,040 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 89.50% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NYSE:DRI opened at $106.76 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a current ratio of 0.41 and a quick ratio of 0.26. Darden Restaurants has a 52-week low of $78.83 and a 52-week high of $124.00. The company has a market capitalization of $13.74 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.20, a PEG ratio of 2.11 and a beta of 0.17.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 7.84% and a return on equity of 30.32%. The company had revenue of $2.06 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.03 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.99 earnings per share. Darden Restaurants’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants will post 5.63 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, October 10th will be paid a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.81%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 26.20%.

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.

Read More: Book Value Of Equity Per Share – BVPS Explained

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

Receive News & Ratings for Darden Restaurants Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Darden Restaurants and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.