Gradient Investments LLC grew its stake in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 13,184.0% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 73,859 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after acquiring an additional 73,303 shares during the quarter. Darden Restaurants accounts for 0.6% of Gradient Investments LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 29th biggest position. Gradient Investments LLC owned 0.06% of Darden Restaurants worth $8,972,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Several other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in DRI. Vanguard Group Inc increased its stake in Darden Restaurants by 5.2% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 13,687,194 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,521,879,000 after purchasing an additional 673,563 shares in the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 1.7% during the 3rd quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 4,186,478 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $465,494,000 after acquiring an additional 68,892 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 14,173.2% during the 4th 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 boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 0.4% during the 4th 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. Finally, Northern Trust Corp boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 1.9% during the 4th 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. 90.90% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

In other Darden Restaurants news, Director William S. Simon sold 1,565 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.90, for a total value of $164,168.50. Following the transaction, the director now owns 10,248 shares in the company, valued at $1,075,015.20. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 73,152 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $118.61, for a total value of $8,676,558.72. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 190,025 shares in the company, valued at approximately $22,538,865.25. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 75,047 shares of company stock worth $8,879,918 in the last 90 days. 0.65% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Darden Restaurants stock traded down $0.94 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $116.07. 28,624 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,490,355. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $84.37 and a fifty-two week high of $124.00. The company has a market capitalization of $14.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.09, a P/E/G ratio of 1.97 and a beta of 0.31. 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 (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, March 21st. The restaurant operator reported $1.80 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.75 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $2.25 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.24 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.28% and a net margin of 8.08%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 5.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.71 EPS. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 5.78 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, April 10th will be given a $0.75 dividend. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.58%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, April 9th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is currently 62.37%.

A number of research firms have weighed in on DRI. Citigroup upped their price target on Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $146.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 3rd. Bank of America set a $130.00 price target on Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. Morgan Stanley upped their price target on Darden Restaurants from $112.00 to $121.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. Wells Fargo & Co upped their price target on Darden Restaurants from $110.00 to $120.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. Finally, Mizuho upped their price target on Darden Restaurants from $125.00 to $130.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and eighteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $128.13.

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

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