Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) has recently received a number of price target changes and ratings updates:

  • 9/20/2016 – Darden Restaurants was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating. 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.”
  • 9/12/2016 – Darden Restaurants was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Most of Darden’s brands have been witnessing growth over the past few quarters on the back of sales initiatives like simplifying kitchen systems, menu innovation and technology-driven moves. Also, the company’s efforts to check costs are commendable. Backed by these initiatives, Darden’s fiscal fourth-quarter 2016 earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the seventh consecutive quarter. Meanwhile, estimates have been mostly stable lately ahead of Darden’s first-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings release. However, Darden provided a weak guidance for fiscal 2017 earnings. Also, though the company posted positive comps across all brands in the fiscal fourth quarter, the figures compared unfavorably with the prior-quarter comps. Going forward, Darden’s rising labor costs and a non-franchised business model might dampen profits, while a soft consumer spending environment could pressurize comps.”
  • 9/8/2016 – Darden Restaurants had its “neutral” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Robert W. Baird.
  • 9/7/2016 – Darden Restaurants had its “outperform” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Oppenheimer Holdings Inc.. They now have a $70.00 price target on the stock.
  • 9/1/2016 – Darden Restaurants had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by analysts at BMO Capital Markets. They now have a $64.00 price target on the stock.
  • 9/1/2016 – Darden Restaurants was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Most of Darden’s brands have been witnessing growth over the past three to four quarters on the back of sales initiatives like simplifying kitchen systems, improving sales planning and scheduling, culinary innovation and technology-driven moves. Also, the company’s efforts to check costs are commendable. Backed by these initiatives, Darden’s fiscal fourth-quarter 2016 earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the seventh consecutive quarter. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 12%. However, Darden provided a weak guidance for fiscal 2017 earnings. Moreover, though the company posted positive comps across all brands in the fiscal fourth quarter, the figures compared unfavorably with the prior-quarter comps. Going forward, 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.”
  • 8/25/2016 – Darden Restaurants had its “overweight” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Piper Jaffray Cos.. They now have a $76.00 price target on the stock.
  • 8/22/2016 – Darden Restaurants was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Most of Darden’s brands have been witnessing growth over the past three to four quarters on the back of sales initiatives like simplifying kitchen systems, improving sales planning and scheduling, culinary innovation and technology-driven moves. Also, the company’s efforts to check costs are commendable. Backed by these initiatives, Darden’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the seventh consecutive quarter. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 12%. However, Darden provided a weak guidance for fiscal 2017 earnings. Moreover, though the company posted positive comps across all brands in the fiscal fourth quarter, the figures compared unfavorably with the prior-quarter comps. Going forward, 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.”
  • 8/22/2016 – Darden Restaurants is now covered by analysts at Canaccord Genuity. They set a “buy” rating and a $74.00 price target on the stock.
  • 7/26/2016 – Darden Restaurants was downgraded by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating. They now have a $53.00 price target on the stock.
  • 7/26/2016 – Darden Restaurants was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating. According to Zacks, “Darden posted mixed fourth quarter and fiscal 2016 results wherein the bottom line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the top line lagged the same. Notably, this quarter marked the seventh consecutive earnings beat for the company and it even raised its quarterly dividend by 12%, however, Darden provided weak earnings guidance for fiscal 2017. Moreover, though the company posted positive comps at all its brands, it compared unfavorably with the prior quarter comps. The company also witnessed a decline in sales across all its segments in the fiscal fourth quarter. Going forward, sales initiatives like simplifying kitchen systems, improving sales planning and scheduling, developing new core menu items and technology-driven moves tablets should boost the top-line. However, 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. “

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) traded up 1.40% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $62.34. The stock had a trading volume of 721,985 shares. Darden Restaurants Inc. has a one year low of $53.38 and a one year high of $72.11. The company has a market cap of $7.87 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.51 and a beta of 0.52. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $62.00 and a 200-day moving average price of $64.21.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 30th. The restaurant operator reported $1.10 EPS for the quarter, beating the 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 firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 4.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.01 earnings per share. Equities analysts expect that Darden Restaurants Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, Director James P. Fogarty bought 3,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 7th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $61.70 per share, for a total transaction of $185,100.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 7,890 shares in the company, valued at $486,813. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Corporate insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

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).

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