Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) Price Target Increased to $180.00 by Analysts at Stephens

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) had its price objective increased by Stephens from $170.00 to $180.00 in a report issued on Friday morning, The Fly reports. They currently have an overweight rating on the restaurant operator’s stock.

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on the company. MKM Partners raised Darden Restaurants from a neutral rating to a buy rating and boosted their price target for the company from $155.00 to $168.00 in a report on Friday, June 25th. Barclays upped their target price on Darden Restaurants from $165.00 to $175.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Friday. BTIG Research reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Sunday, June 27th. Zacks Investment Research raised Darden Restaurants from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $157.00 target price for the company in a research note on Tuesday, August 31st. Finally, KeyCorp upped their target price on Darden Restaurants from $165.00 to $180.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Friday. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-three have given a buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $163.16.

Shares of NYSE DRI opened at $158.70 on Friday. The business’s 50 day moving average price is $146.32 and its 200 day moving average price is $143.39. The firm has a market cap of $20.68 billion, a P/E ratio of 33.27, a P/E/G ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 1.54. Darden Restaurants has a 52 week low of $89.34 and a 52 week high of $164.28. The company has a quick ratio of 0.91, a current ratio of 1.01 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, September 22nd. The restaurant operator reported $1.76 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.65 by $0.11. The firm had revenue of $2.31 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.24 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 22.25% and a net margin of 8.74%. Darden Restaurants’s revenue for the quarter was up 51.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.56 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will post 7.41 earnings per share for the current year.

Darden Restaurants declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, September 23rd that permits the company to buyback $750.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the restaurant operator to reacquire up to 3.6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 8th will be issued a dividend of $1.10 per share. This represents a $4.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.77%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 7th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 102.09%.

In other Darden Restaurants news, COO Ricardo Cardenas sold 7,989 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $151.27, for a total value of $1,208,496.03. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 50,944 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,706,298.88. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Todd Burrowes sold 5,232 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, July 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $150.04, for a total value of $785,009.28. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 36,577 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,488,013.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 141,327 shares of company stock worth $21,170,373. 0.95% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of DRI. United Capital Financial Advisers LLC grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 1.4% during the 2nd quarter. United Capital Financial Advisers LLC now owns 5,467 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $798,000 after buying an additional 73 shares during the last quarter. Rossmore Private Capital grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 3.7% during the 2nd quarter. Rossmore Private Capital now owns 2,125 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $310,000 after buying an additional 75 shares during the last quarter. Berman Capital Advisors LLC grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 20.0% during the 2nd quarter. Berman Capital Advisors LLC now owns 487 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $71,000 after buying an additional 81 shares during the last quarter. Wedbush Securities Inc. grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 5.0% during the 2nd quarter. Wedbush Securities Inc. now owns 1,737 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $254,000 after buying an additional 83 shares during the last quarter. Finally, O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 65.4% in the 1st quarter. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC now owns 215 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $31,000 after purchasing an additional 85 shares during the last quarter. 87.38% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

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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