Traders sold shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) on strength during trading on Thursday. $33.52 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $49.04 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $15.52 million out of the stock. Of all companies tracked, Darden Restaurants had the 10th highest net out-flow for the day. Darden Restaurants traded up $1.25 for the day and closed at $82.53

DRI has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Bank of America Corporation set a $80.00 price target on Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, June 26th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. lifted their price target on Darden Restaurants in a research report on Monday, June 26th. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $102.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday, June 9th. Zacks Investment Research raised Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG lifted their price target on Darden Restaurants from $84.00 to $94.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have issued a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Darden Restaurants currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $84.78.

The company has a 50 day moving average price of $87.54 and a 200-day moving average price of $83.10. The stock has a market cap of $10.35 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.70 and a beta of 0.27.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, June 27th. The restaurant operator reported $1.18 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 26.18% and a net margin of 6.68%. The firm had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.86 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.10 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post $4.47 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Investors of record on Monday, July 10th were given a $0.63 dividend. This is a boost from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.05%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, July 6th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 66.14%.

In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 93,125 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.58, for a total transaction of $8,528,387.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 165,062 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $15,116,377.96. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.8% in the first quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 108,854 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $9,108,000 after buying an additional 892 shares during the last quarter. Hudson Valley Investment Advisors Inc. ADV raised its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 2.5% in the first quarter. Hudson Valley Investment Advisors Inc. ADV now owns 4,025 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $337,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue raised its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 4.2% in the first quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 45,948 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $3,844,000 after buying an additional 1,836 shares during the last quarter. Columbus Circle Investors purchased a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the first quarter worth about $11,390,000. Finally, Ledyard National Bank raised its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 399.4% in the first quarter. Ledyard National Bank now owns 1,638 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $137,000 after buying an additional 1,310 shares during the last quarter. 95.48% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company. The Company owned and operated 1,536 restaurants through its subsidiaries in the United States and Canada, as of May 29, 2016. The Company’s segments include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining (which includes The Capital Grille, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille (Eddie V’s)) and Other Business (which includes Yard House, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, consumer-packaged goods and franchise revenues).

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