BMO Capital Markets lowered shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) from a market perform rating to an underperform rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday, MarketBeat Ratings reports. BMO Capital Markets currently has $96.00 price target on the restaurant operator’s stock, down from their prior price target of $105.00.

DRI has been the subject of a number of other reports. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Darden Restaurants from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Monday, May 28th. Canaccord Genuity lifted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $125.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, September 21st. Maxim Group cut shares of Darden Restaurants from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $112.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Monday, July 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Mizuho lifted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $125.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, September 21st. Finally, SunTrust Banks lifted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants to $137.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, September 21st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $120.09.

DRI stock opened at $112.54 on Monday. The company has a market capitalization of $13.97 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.87, a P/E/G ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.15. The company has a quick ratio of 0.26, a current ratio of 0.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41. Darden Restaurants has a 52 week low of $77.93 and a 52 week high of $124.00.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its earnings results on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.24 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $2.06 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.03 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 7.84% and a return on equity of 30.32%. Darden Restaurants’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.99 EPS. equities research analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post 5.63 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 10th will be given a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.67%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 39.29%.

In other Darden Restaurants news, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 2,186 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $111.06, for a total transaction of $242,777.16. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 792 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $87,959.52. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director William S. Simon sold 2,418 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.09, for a total transaction of $271,033.62. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 12,666 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,419,731.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.65% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of DRI. Millennium Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 290.8% during the 2nd quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,287,465 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $137,836,000 after purchasing an additional 958,040 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 100.8% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,520,183 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $162,751,000 after purchasing an additional 763,239 shares in the last quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 608.9% during the 2nd quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC now owns 699,834 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $74,923,000 after purchasing an additional 601,115 shares in the last quarter. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC purchased a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $43,827,000. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 845.5% during the 2nd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 539,900 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $57,802,000 after purchasing an additional 482,800 shares in the last quarter. 89.45% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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