Darden Restaurants (DRI) Trading 6.8% Higher Following Analyst Upgrade

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) traded up 6.8% during trading on Wednesday after Argus upgraded the stock from a hold rating to a buy rating. Argus now has a $108.00 price target on the stock, up from their previous price target of $95.67. Darden Restaurants traded as high as $96.74 and last traded at $96.69. 4,835,000 shares changed hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 197% from the average session volume of 1,626,779 shares. The stock had previously closed at $90.54.

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Royal Bank of Canada lowered their price target on Darden Restaurants from $96.00 to $90.00 and set a “sector perform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, September 27th. Oppenheimer reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, September 20th. BMO Capital Markets set a $101.00 price target on Darden Restaurants and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $82.00 price target (down from $90.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, September 27th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating and set a $88.00 price target (down from $93.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, September 27th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have assigned a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $93.05.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. D.A. Davidson & CO. increased its position 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 valued at $114,000 after acquiring an additional 21 shares during the last quarter. M&R Capital Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the second quarter valued at $108,000. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter valued at $115,000. Grove Bank & Trust increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 155.6% during the third quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 1,840 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $145,000 after acquiring an additional 1,120 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First National Trust Co. purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the second quarter valued at $217,000. Institutional investors own 91.45% of the company’s stock.

The firm has a market capitalization of $11,957.97, a PE ratio of 22.91, a P/E/G ratio of 2.10 and a beta of 0.22. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47, a quick ratio of 0.24 and a current ratio of 0.34.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, September 26th. The restaurant operator reported $0.99 EPS for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.99. The company had revenue of $1.94 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.93 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 26.24% and a net margin of 6.46%. Darden Restaurants’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.88 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 4.47 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be given a $0.63 dividend. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.65%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, January 9th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 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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