Psagot Investment House Ltd. bought a new position in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The firm bought 6,000 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock, valued at approximately $599,000.

A number of other hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in DRI. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 14,173.2% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,131,508 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $41,000 after purchasing an additional 4,102,562 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.2% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 13,687,194 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,521,879,000 after purchasing an additional 673,563 shares in the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 95.6% during the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 971,586 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $97,023,000 after purchasing an additional 474,864 shares in the last quarter. Ackerman Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $4,000,000. Finally, Acadian Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 61.7% during the 4th quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 695,255 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $69,427,000 after purchasing an additional 265,278 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 90.85% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants stock traded up $1.53 during trading on Thursday, reaching $120.55. The company had a trading volume of 189,398 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,418,939. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 1-year low of $82.38 and a 1-year high of $124.00. The stock has a market capitalization of $14.71 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.06, a P/E/G ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 0.30. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.40, a quick ratio of 0.33 and a current ratio of 0.48.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, March 21st. The restaurant operator reported $1.80 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the 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 for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.24 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.71 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.5% on a year-over-year basis. Sell-side analysts predict that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 5.79 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, April 10th will be paid a dividend of $0.75 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 9th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.49%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 13.10%.

Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. Maxim Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $122.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, January 16th. Buckingham Research assumed coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Friday, January 11th. They set a “buy” rating for the company. Wedbush assumed coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Thursday, January 31st. They set a “neutral” rating and a $110.00 target price for the company. Loop Capital lifted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants to $140.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, March 22nd. Finally, BTIG Research lowered shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $103.80 target price for the company. in a report on Wednesday, December 19th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and twenty-one have given a buy rating to the company. Darden Restaurants has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $125.96.

In other news, Director William S. Simon sold 1,565 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.90, for a total transaction of $164,168.50. Following the transaction, the director now owns 10,248 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,075,015.20. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 73,152 shares of the business’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 in the company, valued at approximately $22,538,865.25. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 75,047 shares of company stock worth $8,879,918. 0.65% of the stock is currently 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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