Checchi Capital Advisers LLC boosted its position in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 8.5% in the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 2,529 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after purchasing an additional 198 shares during the period. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $307,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Vanguard Group Inc increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.2% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 13,687,194 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,521,879,000 after buying an additional 673,563 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 14,173.2% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,131,508 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $41,000 after acquiring an additional 4,102,562 shares during the last quarter. Newport Trust Co increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Newport Trust Co now owns 2,619,601 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $261,593,000 after acquiring an additional 10,698 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.9% in the fourth quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,925,968 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $192,328,000 after acquiring an additional 35,556 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 11.6% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,825,671 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $182,031,000 after acquiring an additional 189,466 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 88.51% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. Wedbush upped their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $130.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, May 13th. UBS Group initiated coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Friday, April 26th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $133.00 price target on the stock. Citigroup upped their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $146.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 3rd. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co upped their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $110.00 to $120.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Friday, March 22nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $130.21.

DRI stock opened at $120.13 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.40, a current ratio of 0.48 and a quick ratio of 0.33. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 52-week low of $86.93 and a 52-week high of $125.33. The stock has a market cap of $15.34 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.98, a PEG ratio of 2.10 and a beta of 0.29.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, March 21st. The restaurant operator reported $1.80 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.75 by $0.05. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 8.08% and a return on equity of 30.28%. The company had revenue of $2.25 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.24 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.71 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 5.5% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 5.78 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, April 10th were issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.50%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, April 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 62.37%.

In other news, SVP John W. Madonna sold 330 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $118.76, for a total transaction of $39,190.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 1,680 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $199,516.80. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 73,152 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $118.61, for a total transaction of $8,676,558.72. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 190,025 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $22,538,865.25. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.65% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

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

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