Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) Earns Buy Rating from Maxim Group

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reiterated by stock analysts at Maxim Group in a report released on Tuesday, January 9th, Marketbeat.com reports. They presently have a $112.00 price target on the restaurant operator’s stock, up from their prior price target of $103.00. Maxim Group’s target price suggests a potential upside of 14.86% from the company’s previous close.

The analysts wrote, “We maintain our Buy rating on Darden Restaurants (DRI) and raise our price target to $112, from $103, following updated FY18 EPS guidance yesterday. We now model direct EPS upside of as much as $0.45 on an annualized basis from lower corporate tax basis alone, and believe there could be additional upside from accelerated buybacks. We believe extreme cold in late December and early January may have reduced F3Q18 (February) comps by as much as 30bps, though we still raise F3Q18 pro forma EPS to $1.65, from $1.55, to reflect a lower tax rate.””

Several other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on DRI. Morgan Stanley reiterated an “equal weight” rating and issued a $88.00 price target (down from $93.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, September 27th. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $97.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, September 27th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and set a $85.00 target price (down previously from $87.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, September 27th. Wells Fargo & Co dropped their target price on Darden Restaurants from $90.00 to $84.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, September 27th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada lowered their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $96.00 to $90.00 and set a “sector perform” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, September 27th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Darden Restaurants has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $96.22.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) opened at $97.51 on Tuesday. Darden Restaurants has a one year low of $71.43 and a one year high of $100.11. The company has a market capitalization of $11,840.71 and a P/E ratio of 22.71. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47, a quick ratio of 0.20 and a current ratio of 0.34.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, December 19th. The restaurant operator reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.70 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 26.24% and a net margin of 6.46%. The company had revenue of $1.88 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.85 billion. equities analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants will post 4.76 EPS for the current year.

In other news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 59,783 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.80, for a total transaction of $5,786,994.40. Following the sale, the insider now owns 164,396 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $15,913,532.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 4,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.05, for a total transaction of $417,315.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 7,513 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $729,136.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 74,866 shares of company stock worth $7,252,094. Insiders own 0.63% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Bruderman Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 0.4% in the second quarter. Bruderman Asset Management LLC now owns 2,532 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $229,000 after acquiring an additional 10 shares in the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 1.7% during the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 1,271 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $114,000 after purchasing an additional 21 shares in the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS raised its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 0.3% during the second quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 9,238 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $835,000 after purchasing an additional 28 shares in the last quarter. Argent Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 2.0% during the second quarter. Argent Capital Management LLC now owns 5,125 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $464,000 after purchasing an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. raised its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 1.8% during the second quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 6,345 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $573,000 after purchasing an additional 114 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 91.55% of the company’s stock.

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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).

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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