MKM Partners Begins Coverage on Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

MKM Partners began coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, BenzingaRatingsTable reports. The firm issued a neutral rating and a $120.00 price objective on the restaurant operator’s stock.

Several other brokerages have also recently commented on DRI. Stephens cut Darden Restaurants from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and set a $121.75 target price on the stock. in a report on Friday, June 28th. ValuEngine cut Darden Restaurants from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, August 1st. Maxim Group cut Darden Restaurants from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $126.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Tuesday, July 16th. Wells Fargo & Co reduced their target price on Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $117.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, June 11th. Finally, KeyCorp started coverage on Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, July 23rd. They issued an overweight rating and a $140.00 price target on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $130.76.

Shares of DRI stock opened at $115.85 on Tuesday. The business’s 50 day simple moving average is $122.50 and its 200 day simple moving average is $117.68. Darden Restaurants has a one year low of $95.83 and a one year high of $126.75. The stock has a market capitalization of $14.91 billion, a PE ratio of 19.91, a PEG ratio of 1.88 and a beta of 0.32. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39, a current ratio of 0.61 and a quick ratio of 0.46.



Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, June 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.76 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.73 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 31.61% and a net margin of 8.38%. The business had revenue of $2.23 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.24 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.39 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will post 6.39 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, August 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, July 10th were paid a $0.88 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, July 9th. This is a positive change from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.75. This represents a $3.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.04%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 60.48%.

In other news, COO David C. George sold 69,779 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $123.25, for a total transaction of $8,600,261.75. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 109,344 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $13,476,648. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Ricardo Cardenas sold 14,128 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $124.87, for a total value of $1,764,163.36. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 23,848 shares in the company, valued at $2,977,899.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 96,907 shares of company stock worth $11,975,585. Insiders own 0.47% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of DRI. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.9% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 727,300 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $72,624,000 after purchasing an additional 13,527 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 11.6% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,825,671 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $182,031,000 after purchasing an additional 189,466 shares in the last quarter. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. ADV bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the 1st quarter worth approximately $1,140,000. Virtu Financial LLC bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the 1st quarter worth approximately $886,000. Finally, Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the 1st quarter worth approximately $330,000. 89.16% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. As of May 27, 2018, it owned and operated approximately 1,746 restaurants under the Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, and Eddie V's brands.

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Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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