Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) has been assigned a consensus rating of “Buy” from the thirty analysts that are covering the firm, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, eight have assigned a hold recommendation and twenty have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 1-year price target among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $121.35.

Several equities analysts recently issued reports on DRI shares. Wells Fargo & Co boosted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $108.00 to $109.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, December 6th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $125.00 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, November 19th. Robert W. Baird dropped their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $115.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, December 19th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 11th. Finally, Barclays dropped their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $133.00 to $129.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, November 29th.

In related news, Director William S. Simon sold 1,565 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.90, for a total value of $164,168.50. Following the sale, the director now owns 10,248 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,075,015.20. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.65% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc raised its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.2% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 13,687,194 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,521,879,000 after acquiring an additional 673,563 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Darden Restaurants by 15.6% in the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,775,361 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,420,492,000 after purchasing an additional 1,720,934 shares in the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC grew its position in Darden Restaurants by 1.7% in the 3rd quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 4,186,478 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $465,494,000 after purchasing an additional 68,892 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its position in Darden Restaurants by 14,173.2% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,131,508 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $41,000 after purchasing an additional 4,102,562 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Newport Trust Co grew its position in Darden Restaurants by 0.4% in the 4th quarter. Newport Trust Co now owns 2,619,601 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $261,593,000 after purchasing an additional 10,698 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 93.49% of the company’s stock.

DRI stock traded up $0.58 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $110.88. The stock had a trading volume of 300,303 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,262,710. The firm has a market cap of $13.51 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.05, a PEG ratio of 1.92 and a beta of 0.29. The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 0.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41. Darden Restaurants has a 1-year low of $82.38 and a 1-year high of $124.00.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, December 18th. The restaurant operator reported $0.92 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $1.97 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.98 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 8.12% and a return on equity of 30.48%. Darden Restaurants’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.73 earnings per share. Research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will post 5.69 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, February 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, January 10th were issued a $0.75 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, January 9th. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.71%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 13.10%.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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