A number of firms have modified their ratings and price targets on shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) recently:

  • 9/24/2018 – Darden Restaurants was downgraded by analysts at BMO Capital Markets from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating. They now have a $96.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $105.00.
  • 9/24/2018 – Darden Restaurants was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Darden have outperformed the industry over the past year. We are encouraged by the company’s impressive growth story. It reported better-than-expected results in the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Earnings and revenues not only surpassed estimates but also grew 35.4% and 6.5%, respectively, from the year-ago quarter. The upside was driven by sales growth across every brand. Notably, the reported quarter marked the 16th consecutive earnings beat for the company. Various sales initiatives and technology-driven moves are expected to boost the top line in the months ahead. The company’s efforts to check costs are commendable. Current-year earnings estimates have also moved north over the past month. However, fierce competition and softer-than-expected consumer demand can keep comps under pressure while rising labor costs and a non-franchised business model may dampen profits.”
  • 9/21/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its price target raised by analysts at Morgan Stanley from $110.00 to $112.00. They now have an “equal weight” rating on the stock.
  • 9/21/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its price target raised by analysts at SunTrust Banks, Inc. to $137.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 9/21/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its price target raised by analysts at Canaccord Genuity from $120.00 to $125.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 9/21/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its price target raised by analysts at Mizuho from $115.00 to $125.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 9/21/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its price target raised by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from $125.00 to $135.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 9/20/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Maxim Group. They now have a $112.00 price target on the stock. They wrote, “DRI posted F1Q19 (August) pro forma EPS of $1.34, which beat our $1.26 estimate and the $1.24 Street mean. The company’s +3.3% blended comp also beat expectations, helped by stronger than expected sales at the fine dining brands. However, Cheddar’s remained a drag on overall performance with a -4.0% comp. The company raised FY19 EPS guidance to $5.52-$5.65, which brackets our $5.63 pre-release estimate and the $5.54 Street mean. Management also raised its blended comp target to positive 2.0%-2.5%, from positive 1.0%-2.0% (vs. +2.4% Maxim pre-release and +1.9% Street mean).””
  • 9/13/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its price target raised by analysts at Morgan Stanley from $103.00 to $110.00. They now have an “equal weight” rating on the stock.
  • 9/13/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its price target raised by analysts at Argus to $240.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 9/11/2018 – Darden Restaurants was upgraded by analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $130.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $106.00. They noted that the move was a valuation call. They noted that the move was a valuation call.
  • 9/10/2018 – Darden Restaurants was downgraded by analysts at Robert W. Baird from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating.
  • 9/5/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its price target raised by analysts at Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. from $115.00 to $130.00. They now have an “outperform” rating on the stock.
  • 9/5/2018 – Darden Restaurants had its price target raised by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from $115.00 to $125.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 8/22/2018 – Darden Restaurants was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $128.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Darden’s shares have outpaced its industry in the past year. Most of its brands have witnessed growth over the past few quarters, given various sales initiatives like simplifying kitchen systems, operational excellence, menu innovation along with technology-driven moves. The acquisition of Cheddar's has added value to Darden's portfolio of differentiated brands. Further, the company’s efforts to check costs are commendable. Backed by these efforts, fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 marked the 15th consecutive earnings beat for Darden. Yet, rising labor costs and a non-franchised business model are likely to dampen the company’s profits while a soft industry backdrop might pressurize comps. However fiscal 2019 estimates have moved northward over the past two month, reflecting analysts’ optimism surrounding the stock.”
  • 8/21/2018 – Darden Restaurants was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Darden’s shares have outpaced its industry in the past year. Most of its brands have witnessed growth over the past few quarters, given various sales initiatives like simplifying kitchen systems, operational excellence, menu innovation along with technology-driven moves. The acquisition of Cheddar's has added value to Darden's portfolio of differentiated brands. Further, the company’s efforts to check costs are commendable. Backed by these efforts, fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 marked the 15th consecutive earnings beat for Darden. Yet, rising labor costs and a non-franchised business model are likely to dampen the company’s profits while a soft industry backdrop might pressurize comps. However current-quarter estimates have moved northward over the past month, reflecting analysts’ optimism surrounding the stock.”

Shares of DRI stock opened at $112.21 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a current ratio of 0.41 and a quick ratio of 0.26. The stock has a market capitalization of $13.97 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.33, a PEG ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.15. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 12 month low of $77.93 and a 12 month high of $124.00.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. The firm had revenue of $2.06 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.03 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.32% and a net margin of 7.84%. The company’s revenue was up 6.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.99 earnings per share. equities analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 5.63 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, October 10th will be given a dividend of $0.75 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 9th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.67%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is currently 39.29%.

In other news, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 2,186 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.06, for a total transaction of $242,777.16. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 792 shares in the company, valued at approximately $87,959.52. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director William S. Simon sold 2,418 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.09, for a total value of $271,033.62. Following the transaction, the director now owns 12,666 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,419,731.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.65% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Trilogy Capital Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 1st quarter worth about $140,000. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC grew its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 92.9% during the 2nd quarter. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC now owns 1,640 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $176,000 after buying an additional 790 shares during the period. Doyle Wealth Management acquired a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 2nd quarter worth about $202,000. Summit Securities Group LLC acquired a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 2nd quarter worth about $203,000. Finally, Pillar Pacific Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 2nd quarter worth about $204,000. Institutional investors own 89.45% of the company’s stock.

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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