Darden Restaurants’ (DRI) “Buy” Rating Reiterated at Maxim Group

Maxim Group reiterated their buy rating on shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) in a report released on Tuesday, Marketbeat Ratings reports. They currently have a $112.00 target price on the restaurant operator’s stock, up from their prior target price of $103.00.

“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.”,” Maxim Group’s analyst wrote.

DRI has been the subject of several other reports. 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 report on Wednesday, September 27th. Oppenheimer reissued a buy rating and issued a $100.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, September 20th. SunTrust Banks reissued a hold rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Thursday, December 21st. BMO Capital Markets set a $101.00 price objective on Darden Restaurants and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. Finally, Jefferies Group reissued a hold rating and issued a $82.00 price objective (down from $90.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, September 27th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company. Darden Restaurants has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $95.32.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (DRI) traded up $0.42 during trading on Tuesday, reaching $98.02. The company had a trading volume of 1,076,331 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,725,388. 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 price-to-earnings ratio of 25.13, a P/E/G ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 0.20. Darden Restaurants has a 1 year low of $71.43 and a 1 year high of $100.11.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be paid a $0.63 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, January 9th. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.57%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is currently 64.62%.

In other news, CFO Ricardo Cardenas sold 10,783 shares of the business’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 transaction of $1,047,784.11. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 20,046 shares in the company, valued at $1,947,869.82. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 59,783 shares of the business’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 transaction, the insider now owns 164,396 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $15,913,532.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 74,866 shares of company stock valued at $7,252,094. 0.63% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Toronto Dominion Bank boosted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 26.0% during the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 42,119 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $3,808,000 after buying an additional 8,694 shares during the period. Tredje AP fonden boosted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 11.0% during the third quarter. Tredje AP fonden now owns 61,850 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $4,873,000 after buying an additional 6,110 shares during the period. Eastern Bank acquired a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth approximately $2,327,000. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 4.3% during the third quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,061,980 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $83,663,000 after buying an additional 43,734 shares during the period. Finally, Korea Investment CORP boosted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 2.8% during the third quarter. Korea Investment CORP now owns 298,182 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $23,491,000 after buying an additional 8,200 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.45% of the company’s stock.

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Darden Restaurants Company Profile

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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