Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Research analysts at Wedbush boosted their FY2019 earnings estimates for Darden Restaurants in a note issued to investors on Thursday, March 21st. Wedbush analyst N. Setyan now forecasts that the restaurant operator will post earnings of $5.80 per share for the year, up from their prior estimate of $5.70. Wedbush has a “Neutral” rating and a $110.00 price objective on the stock. Wedbush also issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ Q4 2019 earnings at $1.74 EPS, Q2 2020 earnings at $1.05 EPS, Q3 2020 earnings at $1.92 EPS, Q4 2020 earnings at $2.22 EPS and FY2020 earnings at $6.47 EPS.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 21st. The restaurant operator reported $1.80 earnings per share 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 firm had revenue of $2.25 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.24 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.71 EPS. Darden Restaurants’s revenue was up 5.5% on a year-over-year basis.

A number of other analysts have also commented on DRI. Barclays lowered their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $133.00 to $129.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, November 29th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 4th. Wells Fargo & Co lifted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $108.00 to $109.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, December 6th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 11th. Finally, BTIG Research raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $119.00 target price for the company in a report on Tuesday, December 18th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and twenty-one have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $125.96.

DRI stock opened at $117.44 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.40, a current ratio of 0.48 and a quick ratio of 0.25. Darden Restaurants has a fifty-two week low of $82.38 and a fifty-two week high of $124.00. The company has a market capitalization of $14.50 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.42, a P/E/G ratio of 2.02 and a beta of 0.30.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, April 10th will be issued a $0.75 dividend. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.55%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 13.10%.

In other news, Director William S. Simon sold 1,565 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.90, for a total value of $164,168.50. Following the completion of 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 document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 0.65% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in DRI. Private Advisor Group LLC acquired a new position in Darden Restaurants in the 3rd quarter worth $254,000. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 47.3% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 517,021 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $57,487,000 after purchasing an additional 165,973 shares during the period. Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 18.7% in the 3rd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 164,037 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $18,239,000 after purchasing an additional 25,790 shares during the period. MML Investors Services LLC boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 9.5% in the 3rd quarter. MML Investors Services LLC now owns 10,547 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,173,000 after purchasing an additional 912 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 15.6% in the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,775,361 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,420,492,000 after purchasing an additional 1,720,934 shares during the period. 89.61% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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.

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

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