Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) Expected to Post Earnings of $1.87 Per Share

Equities research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) will announce earnings of $1.87 per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Eleven analysts have issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ earnings, with the highest EPS estimate coming in at $1.95 and the lowest estimate coming in at $1.80. Darden Restaurants posted earnings per share of $1.80 during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 3.9%. The business is expected to announce its next quarterly earnings results on Thursday, March 19th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will report full-year earnings of $6.38 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.30 to $6.42. For the next year, analysts forecast that the company will report earnings of $6.74 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.64 to $6.85. Zacks’ earnings per share calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that cover Darden Restaurants.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its earnings results on Thursday, December 19th. The restaurant operator reported $1.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.05. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 7.23% and a return on equity of 32.25%. The firm had revenue of $2.06 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.06 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.92 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis.

A number of brokerages have weighed in on DRI. Wells Fargo & Co decreased their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $116.00 to $115.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, December 20th. Evercore ISI reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $135.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Sunday, December 22nd. Stephens dropped their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $125.00 to $115.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a report on Friday, December 20th. Wedbush reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $125.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, December 4th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group initiated coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Thursday, December 12th. They issued a “sell” rating and a $115.00 price target on the stock. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $127.62.

Shares of DRI opened at $114.55 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $13.92 billion, a PE ratio of 22.77, a P/E/G ratio of 1.93 and a beta of 0.31. The company has a current ratio of 0.34, a quick ratio of 0.21 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.30. The firm has a fifty day simple moving average of $113.42 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $117.24. Darden Restaurants has a 1-year low of $104.25 and a 1-year high of $128.41.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, February 3rd. Investors of record on Friday, January 10th will be given a dividend of $0.88 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, January 9th. This represents a $3.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.07%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is presently 60.48%.

In related news, Director Charles M. Sonsteby purchased 1,500 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 31st. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $112.26 per share, with a total value of $168,390.00. Also, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 791 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $113.32, for a total transaction of $89,636.12. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 6,002 shares in the company, valued at $680,146.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.47% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 23.3% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 13,792,587 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,678,972,000 after purchasing an additional 2,605,688 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.6% in the 3rd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 5,852,155 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $691,842,000 after purchasing an additional 32,745 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 8.0% in the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 1,037,808 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $122,690,000 after purchasing an additional 76,773 shares in the last quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 14.3% in the 2nd quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 664,632 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $80,906,000 after purchasing an additional 83,342 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Nuveen Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 2,824.3% in the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 546,791 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $66,561,000 after purchasing an additional 528,093 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 90.04% of the company’s stock.

About Darden Restaurants

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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Earnings History and Estimates for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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