Teacher Retirement System of Texas Purchases 4,353 Shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)

Teacher Retirement System of Texas lifted its position in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 6.8% in the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 68,027 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after acquiring an additional 4,353 shares during the quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas owned 0.05% of Darden Restaurants worth $10,304,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in DRI. Marco Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 27.2% during the second quarter. Marco Investment Management LLC now owns 8,418 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,229,000 after buying an additional 1,800 shares during the period. AdvisorNet Financial Inc boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 1,251.1% during the 3rd quarter. AdvisorNet Financial Inc now owns 1,189 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $180,000 after acquiring an additional 1,101 shares during the period. Cookson Peirce & Co. Inc. increased its stake in Darden Restaurants by 15.1% in the third quarter. Cookson Peirce & Co. Inc. now owns 24,190 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $3,664,000 after purchasing an additional 3,165 shares during the period. ARS Wealth Advisors Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth $208,000. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.5% during the second quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 2,304,952 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $335,595,000 after purchasing an additional 119,711 shares during the period. 89.13% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

DRI has been the subject of several research reports. Robert W. Baird reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, October 13th. Royal Bank of Canada increased their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $165.00 to $176.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, September 24th. Stifel Nicolaus raised Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $165.00 target price for the company in a research report on Tuesday, December 21st. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft reissued a “hold” rating and set a $154.00 price target (down previously from $156.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday, December 17th. Finally, Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $167.00 to $171.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 24th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $167.00.

In other Darden Restaurants news, Director M Shan Atkins sold 3,123 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $151.11, for a total value of $471,916.53. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 76,725 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $152.38, for a total transaction of $11,691,355.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.95% of the company’s stock.

NYSE:DRI opened at $143.00 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $18.26 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.46, a PEG ratio of 1.91 and a beta of 1.46. The company has a current ratio of 0.85, a quick ratio of 0.72 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 12 month low of $110.89 and a 12 month high of $164.28. The firm has a fifty day simple moving average of $146.91 and a 200-day simple moving average of $147.34.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, December 17th. The restaurant operator reported $1.48 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.43 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $2.27 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.23 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.83% and a net margin of 10.73%. The firm’s revenue was up 37.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.74 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 7.57 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, February 1st. Investors of record on Monday, January 10th will be issued a $1.10 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, January 7th. This represents a $4.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.08%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 62.95%.

Darden Restaurants declared that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Thursday, September 23rd that allows the company to repurchase $750.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the restaurant operator to reacquire up to 3.6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company, which engages in the provision of restaurant services. It operates through the following segments: Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining, and Other Business. The Olive Garden segment is the largest full-service dining Italian restaurant operator.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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