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Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) has earned an average rating of “Hold” from the twenty-two brokerages that are presently covering the stock, StockRatingsNetwork.com reports. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating on the company. The average twelve-month price target among brokers that have covered the stock in the last year is $76.71.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) opened at 47.32 on Wednesday. Darden Restaurants has a 52 week low of $43.56 and a 52 week high of $54.89. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $46.19 and a 200-day moving average of $48.53. The company has a market cap of $6.261 billion and a P/E ratio of 21.90. Darden Restaurants also was the recipient of a large increase in short interest in August. As of August 15th, there was short interest totalling 15,232,792 shares, an increase of 27.8% from the July 31st total of 11,916,846 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,862,569 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 8.2 days. Currently, 11.6% of the shares of the company are short sold.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, June 20th. The company reported $0.65 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.29. The company had revenue of $2.32 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.33 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.01 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Darden Restaurants will post $2.22 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of research firms have recently commented on DRI. Analysts at Bank of America downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants to an “underperform” rating in a research note on Thursday. Separately, analysts at Goldman Sachs initiated coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Monday, August 11th. They set a $500.00 price target on the stock. Finally, analysts at Deutsche Bank cut their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $49.00 to $44.00 in a research note on Tuesday, July 29th. They now have a “hold” rating on the stock.

Darden Restaurants, Inc is full service restaurant company. The Company owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants.

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