Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Analysts at Jefferies Group boosted their Q3 2018 EPS estimates for Darden Restaurants in a report released on Tuesday, according to Zacks Investment Research. Jefferies Group analyst A. Barish now expects that the restaurant operator will post earnings of $1.49 per share for the quarter, up from their previous estimate of $1.42. Jefferies Group has a “Hold” rating and a $90.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ Q4 2018 earnings at $1.29 EPS and FY2019 earnings at $4.73 EPS.
Several other research firms also recently commented on DRI. Zacks Investment Research raised Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $111.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, January 8th. Wells Fargo & Co reiterated a “market perform” rating and set a $99.00 target price (up previously from $92.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. Maxim Group reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $112.00 target price (up previously from $103.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $95.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $99.00 target price on Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $95.32.
Shares of Darden Restaurants (DRI) opened at $98.02 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47, a quick ratio of 0.20 and a current ratio of 0.34. The company has a market capitalization of $12,056.90, a P/E ratio of 25.13, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 0.20. Darden Restaurants has a one year low of $71.43 and a one year high of $100.11.
A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of DRI. HS Management Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants in the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $157,044,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 113.6% in the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,576,026 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $124,158,000 after buying an additional 838,341 shares in the last quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 34.4% in the 3rd quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 2,361,712 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $186,056,000 after buying an additional 604,364 shares in the last quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 66.8% in the 2nd quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 1,275,399 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $115,348,000 after buying an additional 510,969 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Allianz Asset Management GmbH lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 79.8% in the 3rd quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 722,952 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $56,954,000 after buying an additional 320,902 shares in the last quarter. 91.45% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
In related news, CFO Ricardo Cardenas sold 10,783 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.17, for a total value of $1,047,784.11. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 20,046 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,947,869.82. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 59,783 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.80, for a total value of $5,786,994.40. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 164,396 shares in the company, valued at approximately $15,913,532.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 74,866 shares of company stock worth $7,252,094. Insiders own 0.63% of the company’s stock.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be issued a $0.63 dividend. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.57%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, January 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is currently 64.62%.
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About Darden Restaurants
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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