Maxim Group reiterated their hold rating on shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) in a research report report published on Thursday morning. Maxim Group currently has a $112.00 price target on the restaurant operator’s stock.

“DRI posted F1Q19 (August) pro forma EPS of $1.34, which beat our $1.26 estimate and the $1.24 Street mean. The company’s +3.3% blended comp also beat expectations, helped by stronger than expected sales at the fine dining brands. However, Cheddar’s remained a drag on overall performance with a -4.0% comp. The company raised FY19 EPS guidance to $5.52-$5.65, which brackets our $5.63 pre-release estimate and the $5.54 Street mean. Management also raised its blended comp target to positive 2.0%-2.5%, from positive 1.0%-2.0% (vs. +2.4% Maxim pre-release and +1.9% Street mean).”,” the firm’s analyst commented.

Several other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Darden Restaurants from $103.00 to $110.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research report on Thursday, September 13th. Argus raised their price target on Darden Restaurants to $240.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, September 13th. Goldman Sachs Group raised Darden Restaurants from a neutral rating to a buy rating and raised their price target for the company from $106.00 to $130.00 in a research report on Tuesday, September 11th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Robert W. Baird downgraded Darden Restaurants from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Monday, September 10th. Finally, Oppenheimer raised their price target on Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $130.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 5th. Ten equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $120.13.

NYSE DRI opened at $112.89 on Thursday. Darden Restaurants has a fifty-two week low of $77.55 and a fifty-two week high of $124.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.25 and a current ratio of 0.41. The stock has a market cap of $13.95 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.84, a P/E/G ratio of 2.16 and a beta of 0.15.

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, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.32% and a net margin of 7.84%. The company had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.03 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.99 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants will post 5.63 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 1st. Investors 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 2.66%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 39.29%.

In related news, SVP John W. Madonna sold 700 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $109.21, for a total transaction of $76,447.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 706 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $77,102.26. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 2,186 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.06, for a total value of $242,777.16. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 792 shares in the company, valued at $87,959.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 182,236 shares of company stock worth $19,609,826. 0.65% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC acquired a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the first quarter valued at approximately $247,000. Carillon Tower Advisers Inc. boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 339.4% during the second quarter. Carillon Tower Advisers Inc. now owns 246,050 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $26,342,000 after purchasing an additional 190,050 shares in the last quarter. Gradient Investments LLC boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 4.7% during the second quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 98,594 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $10,556,000 after purchasing an additional 4,393 shares in the last quarter. Swiss National Bank boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 2.2% during the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 667,441 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $71,456,000 after purchasing an additional 14,100 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Great West Life Assurance Co. Can boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 0.6% during the second quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 118,020 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $12,639,000 after purchasing an additional 683 shares in the last quarter. 89.45% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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.

Recommended Story: How Do Tariffs Affect Trade Balances?

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

Receive News & Ratings for Darden Restaurants Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Darden Restaurants and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.