New England Research & Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 65.3% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 8,798 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after buying an additional 3,475 shares during the quarter. New England Research & Management Inc.’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $959,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the business. United Services Automobile Association boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 26.2% during the fourth quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 40,662 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $4,433,000 after buying an additional 8,453 shares during the period. Allred Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter worth $36,000. FTB Advisors Inc. lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.8% during the fourth quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 94,782 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $10,332,000 after purchasing an additional 1,661 shares during the last quarter. Evoke Wealth LLC bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth $193,000. Finally, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 14.1% during the third quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY now owns 24,462 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,892,000 after purchasing an additional 3,019 shares during the last quarter. 90.12% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In other news, Director Nana Mensah sold 1,103 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.00, for a total transaction of $123,536.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Charles M. Sonsteby purchased 1,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 31st. The shares were acquired at an average price of $112.26 per share, for a total transaction of $168,390.00. 0.47% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several analysts have recently weighed in on DRI shares. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated an “overweight” rating and set a $128.00 target price (up from $125.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday, September 20th. Citigroup reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $130.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Tuesday, December 31st. SunTrust Banks decreased their target price on Darden Restaurants from $141.00 to $139.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, September 20th. Wedbush reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $125.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, December 4th. Finally, Argus reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday, December 27th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $127.62.

Shares of DRI stock traded down $1.04 on Tuesday, hitting $112.21. The stock had a trading volume of 2,050,323 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,771,235. The business has a 50 day moving average price of $114.16 and a 200 day moving average price of $117.56. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a one year low of $104.25 and a one year high of $128.41. The company has a quick ratio of 0.21, a current ratio of 0.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.30. The company has a market cap of $13.88 billion, a PE ratio of 19.28, a P/E/G ratio of 1.98 and a beta of 0.31.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, December 19th. The restaurant operator reported $1.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.05. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 32.25% and a net margin of 7.23%. The company had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.06 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.92 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 6.37 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, February 3rd. Shareholders of record on Friday, January 10th will be paid a $0.88 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, January 9th. This represents a $3.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.14%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 60.48%.

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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