Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) has been assigned an average rating of “Hold” from the twenty-four ratings firms that are covering the stock. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating on the company. The average 12 month target price among analysts that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $77.94.

A number of research firms have commented on DRI. Royal Bank of Canada raised their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $80.00 to $86.00 and gave the stock a “sector perform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 29th. BTIG Research cut shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 29th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Canaccord Genuity raised their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 29th. BMO Capital Markets raised their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $80.00 to $81.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 30th. Finally, Robert W. Baird restated a “hold” rating and set a $80.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, March 28th.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) traded down 0.08% during trading on Friday, reaching $88.03. 450,411 shares of the company traded hands. Darden Restaurants has a 52 week low of $59.50 and a 52 week high of $89.14. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $85.62 and its 200-day moving average price is $77.55. The company has a market capitalization of $10.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.49 and a beta of 0.28.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Monday, March 27th. The restaurant operator reported $1.32 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.05. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.22% and a return on equity of 25.92%. The firm had revenue of $1.88 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.87 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.21 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post $3.99 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, May 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, April 10th were paid a dividend of $0.56 per share. This represents a $2.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.54%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, April 6th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 65.50%.

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In other news, insider David C. George sold 84,283 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Monday, April 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $83.13, for a total transaction of $7,006,445.79. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 78,010 shares in the company, valued at $6,484,971.30. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 98,124 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Friday, March 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $83.19, for a total value of $8,162,935.56. Following the sale, the insider now owns 177,737 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,785,941.03. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.69% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Payden & Rygel increased its stake in Darden Restaurants by 18.9% in the third quarter. Payden & Rygel now owns 249,100 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $15,275,000 after buying an additional 39,600 shares during the period. ProShare Advisors LLC increased its stake in Darden Restaurants by 0.8% in the third quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC now owns 28,962 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,776,000 after buying an additional 233 shares during the period. Weiss Asset Management LP acquired a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter valued at $236,000. OMERS ADMINISTRATION Corp acquired a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter valued at $245,000. Finally, Advantus Capital Management Inc increased its stake in Darden Restaurants by 10.6% in the third quarter. Advantus Capital Management Inc now owns 12,343 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $757,000 after buying an additional 1,186 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 87.64% of the company’s stock.

About Darden Restaurants

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).

12 Month Chart for NYSE:DRI

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