Hartford Investment Management Co. trimmed its position in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 3.4% in the third quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 20,637 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after selling 720 shares during the period. Hartford Investment Management Co.’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $2,295,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other large investors have also recently bought and sold shares of DRI. Millennium Management LLC grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 290.8% in 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 in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 100.8% in the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,520,183 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $162,751,000 after purchasing an additional 763,239 shares in the last quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 608.9% in the second quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC now owns 699,834 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $74,923,000 after purchasing an additional 601,115 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 845.5% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 539,900 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $57,802,000 after acquiring an additional 482,800 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 3.8% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,054,427 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,183,487,000 after acquiring an additional 401,736 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 88.91% of the company’s stock.

In related news, COO David C. George sold 55,671 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $108.24, for a total transaction of $6,025,829.04. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 95,236 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,308,344.64. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 60,688 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.63, for a total value of $6,835,289.44. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 147,561 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,619,795.43. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.65% of the stock is owned by insiders.

DRI has been the subject of a number of research reports. Piper Jaffray Companies restated an “overweight” rating and issued a $120.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Monday, July 23rd. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 21st. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their target price on Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $125.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 5th. Oppenheimer lifted their target price on Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $130.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 5th. Finally, Robert W. Baird downgraded Darden Restaurants from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, September 10th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $119.20.

DRI opened at $113.46 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $13.88 billion, a PE ratio of 23.59, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.17. The company has a current ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.26 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a twelve month low of $79.18 and a twelve month high of $124.00.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.03 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.32% and a net margin of 7.84%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.99 earnings per share. As a group, analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 5.62 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, October 10th were issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, October 9th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.64%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 26.20%.

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About Darden Restaurants

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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