Commonwealth Equity Services LLC grew its position in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 20.6% in the third quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The fund owned 31,799 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after buying an additional 5,438 shares during the period. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $3,535,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Achmea Investment Management B.V. boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 99.0% during the 3rd quarter. Achmea Investment Management B.V. now owns 29,089 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $3,232,000 after buying an additional 14,475 shares during the period. Chemical Bank boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 42.7% during the 3rd quarter. Chemical Bank now owns 14,182 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,577,000 after buying an additional 4,247 shares during the period. Smithfield Trust Co. boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 537.3% during the 3rd quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 1,625 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $181,000 after buying an additional 1,370 shares during the period. Dupont Capital Management Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1,589.2% during the 3rd quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp now owns 19,679 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,188,000 after buying an additional 18,514 shares during the period. Finally, Gulf International Bank UK Ltd boosted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 17.8% during the 3rd quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 10,592 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,177,000 after buying an additional 1,600 shares during the period. 88.91% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

In other Darden Restaurants news, COO David C. George sold 55,671 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 4th. The shares were 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 directly owns 95,236 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,308,344.64. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. 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 transaction of $6,835,289.44. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 147,561 shares in the company, valued at $16,619,795.43. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.65% of the company’s stock.

DRI opened at $111.21 on Thursday. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $79.18 and a fifty-two week high of $124.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.26 and a current ratio of 0.41. The company has a market cap of $13.82 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.54, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.12 and a beta of 0.17.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ 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 firm had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.03 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.99 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 5.62 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 10th were issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.70%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, October 9th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 26.20%.

DRI has been the subject of several analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $125.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday. Loop Capital initiated coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, October 24th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $130.00 price objective for the company. Gordon Haskett initiated coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. They issued an “underperform” rating and a $94.00 price objective for the company. Citigroup dropped their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $128.00 to $125.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, October 4th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets cut shares of Darden Restaurants from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating and dropped their target price for the company from $105.00 to $96.00 in a research report on Monday, September 24th. 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 stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $119.20.

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

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