Canaccord Genuity reiterated their buy rating on shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) in a research note published on Thursday. They currently have a $84.00 price objective on the restaurant operator’s stock.

“We recently hosted an investor dinner with Darden Restaurants’ management team: Gene Lee (President & CEO), Rick Cardenas (CFO), David George (President of Olive Garden), Todd Burrowes (President of LongHorn Steakhouse) and Kevin Kalicak (IR). Following the meeting, we are increasingly confident in our BUY thesis. While the industry backdrop remains challenging given the slowdown in restaurant sales and labor inflation, we remain confident in DRI’s ability to drive continued market share gains via an improved guest experience, off-premise, menu innovation and Olive Garden remodels.”,” Canaccord Genuity’s analyst commented.

Several other research firms also recently issued reports on DRI. Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed a market perform rating and set a $69.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, December 7th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 6th. Deutsche Bank AG downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $76.00 price target for the company. in a research note on Friday, December 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. BTIG Research raised their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $75.00 to $85.00 and gave the company a positive rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 21st. Finally, Jefferies Group reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $72.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, December 21st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have assigned a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $74.27.

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) traded down 0.60% during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $73.37. 1,410,282 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $9.11 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.49 and a beta of 0.28. Darden Restaurants has a 12-month low of $55.77 and a 12-month high of $79.43. The company has a 50 day moving average of $74.79 and a 200-day moving average of $66.08.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, December 20th. The restaurant operator reported $0.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.64. The firm earned $1.64 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.65 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.22% and a return on equity of 25.92%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.54 earnings per share. Equities analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants will post $3.94 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, February 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, January 10th will be given a dividend of $0.56 per share. This represents a $2.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.05%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, January 6th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is currently 65.50%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in DRI. Sfmg LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth $249,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth $3,696,000. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD raised its position in Darden Restaurants by 3.3% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 228,792 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $14,030,000 after buying an additional 7,340 shares during the last quarter. Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth $227,000. Finally, Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec raised its position in Darden Restaurants by 63.1% in the third quarter. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec now owns 51,700 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $3,170,000 after buying an additional 20,000 shares during the last quarter. 87.33% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company. The Company owned and operated 1,536 restaurants through its subsidiaries in the United States and Canada, as of May 29, 2016. The Company’s segments include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining (which includes The Capital Grille, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille (Eddie V’s)) and Other Business (which includes Yard House, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, consumer-packaged goods and franchise revenues).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:DRI

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