Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Darden provided a weak guidance for fiscal 2017 earnings at the fiscal fourth quarter conference call. Moreover, though the company posted positive comps across all brands in the fiscal fourth quarter, the figures compared unfavorably with the prior-quarter comps. The company also witnessed a decline in sales across all its segments in the quarter. Going forward, sales initiatives like simplifying kitchen systems, menu innovation coupled with technology-driven moves should boost the top line. Estimates have been mostly stable lately ahead of Darden’s first-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings release. Meanwhile, the company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. However, we are yet to see sustained improvement in its flagship brand, Olive Garden. Moreover, Darden’s rising labor costs and a non-franchised business model might dampen profits, while a soft consumer spending environment could keep comps under pressure.”

DRI has been the topic of several other research reports. Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $64.00 price target (down previously from $66.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Saturday, July 2nd. Piper Jaffray Cos. reissued an “overweight” rating and issued a $76.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Thursday, August 25th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, September 7th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $64.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Thursday, September 1st. Finally, Tigress Financial raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 23rd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $71.06.

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Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) traded up 0.03% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $61.41. The company had a trading volume of 355,381 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.75 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.19 and a beta of 0.52. Darden Restaurants has a one year low of $53.38 and a one year high of $72.11. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $62.00 and its 200-day moving average price is $64.24.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 30th. The restaurant operator reported $1.10 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $1.79 billion for the quarter. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 5.41% and a return on equity of 21.95%. The business’s revenue was down 4.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.01 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Darden Restaurants news, Director James P. Fogarty acquired 3,000 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 7th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $61.70 per share, for a total transaction of $185,100.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 7,890 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $486,813. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. CENTRAL TRUST Co boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 16.5% in the second quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 1,799 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 255 shares during the period. Krilogy Financial LLC boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 1.6% in the second quarter. Krilogy Financial LLC now owns 2,133 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $135,000 after buying an additional 33 shares during the period. Pacer Advisors Inc. boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 9.0% in the second quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 2,369 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $150,000 after buying an additional 195 shares during the period. M&R Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants during the second quarter valued at $158,000. Finally, Citizens Financial Group Inc RI boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 320.0% in the first quarter. Citizens Financial Group Inc RI now owns 2,520 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $167,000 after buying an additional 1,920 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 94.74% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company. The Company owned and operated 1,536 restaurants through its subsidiaries in the United States and Canada, as of May 29, 2016. The Company’s segments include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining (which includes The Capital Grille, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille (Eddie V’s)) and Other Business (which includes Yard House, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, consumer-packaged goods and franchise revenues).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:DRI

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