Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Research analysts at Piper Jaffray Companies reduced their Q2 2019 EPS estimates for shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note issued to investors on Thursday, September 20th. Piper Jaffray Companies analyst N. Regan now anticipates that the restaurant operator will earn $0.88 per share for the quarter, down from their previous estimate of $0.89. Piper Jaffray Companies has a “Overweight” rating and a $120.00 price objective on the stock. Piper Jaffray Companies also issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ Q4 2019 earnings at $1.67 EPS.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $2.06 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.03 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.32% and a net margin of 7.84%. The business’s revenue was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.99 earnings per share.

Several other equities analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $128.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, August 22nd. Oppenheimer boosted their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $130.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 5th. Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $103.00 to $110.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 13th. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $125.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 5th. Finally, Robert W. Baird downgraded Darden Restaurants from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, September 10th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $120.09.

NYSE:DRI opened at $113.08 on Monday. The company has a market cap of $13.95 billion, a PE ratio of 23.49, a P/E/G ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.15. Darden Restaurants has a 52 week low of $77.55 and a 52 week high of $124.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a current ratio of 0.41 and a quick ratio of 0.26.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 10th will be given a $0.75 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 9th. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.65%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 39.29%.

In other Darden Restaurants news, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 2,186 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.06, for a total value of $242,777.16. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 792 shares in the company, valued at $87,959.52. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director William S. Simon sold 2,418 shares of the company’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 value of $271,033.62. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 12,666 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,419,731.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 65,574 shares of company stock valued at $7,036,991 over the last 90 days. 0.65% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 3.8% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,054,427 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,183,487,000 after buying an additional 401,736 shares in the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 12.3% in the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,621,385 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $280,646,000 after buying an additional 288,019 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 100.8% in the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,520,183 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $162,751,000 after buying an additional 763,239 shares in the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 290.8% in the second quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,287,465 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $137,836,000 after buying an additional 958,040 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.6% in the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,012,324 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $108,380,000 after buying an additional 53,292 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 89.45% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants Company 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.

Further Reading: Dividend

Earnings History and Estimates for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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