Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Equities research analysts at SunTrust Banks raised their Q2 2019 EPS estimates for shares of Darden Restaurants in a report released on Thursday, September 20th. SunTrust Banks analyst J. Bartlett now expects that the restaurant operator will post earnings per share of $0.95 for the quarter, up from their prior forecast of $0.88. SunTrust Banks currently has a “Buy” rating and a $137.00 price target on the stock. SunTrust Banks also issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ Q3 2019 earnings at $1.80 EPS, Q4 2019 earnings at $1.65 EPS, FY2019 earnings at $5.75 EPS, Q1 2020 earnings at $1.43 EPS, Q2 2020 earnings at $1.05 EPS, Q3 2020 earnings at $1.96 EPS, Q4 2020 earnings at $2.00 EPS and FY2020 earnings at $6.45 EPS.

A number of other brokerages have also recently issued reports on DRI. Robert W. Baird cut shares of Darden Restaurants from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, September 10th. Argus increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants to $240.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 13th. Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $103.00 to $110.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 13th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $106.00 to $130.00 in a research note on Tuesday, September 11th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Maxim Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $112.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Thursday. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Darden Restaurants currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $120.13.

Shares of DRI stock opened at $112.89 on Monday. Darden Restaurants has a 52-week low of $77.55 and a 52-week high of $124.00. The firm has a market capitalization of $13.95 billion, a PE ratio of 23.47, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.16 and a beta of 0.15. The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 0.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41.

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

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, October 10th will be given a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.66%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 39.29%.

In related news, COO David C. George sold 38,323 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.19, for a total transaction of $4,146,165.37. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 72,560 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,850,266.40. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director William S. Simon sold 2,418 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.09, for a total transaction of $271,033.62. Following the sale, the director now owns 12,666 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,419,731.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 164,870 shares of company stock valued at $17,727,998 in the last quarter. 0.65% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

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

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

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