Equities analysts expect Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) to report $1.93 billion in sales for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Seven analysts have issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ earnings. The lowest sales estimate is $1.90 billion and the highest is $1.95 billion. Darden Restaurants posted sales of $1.71 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 12.9%. The company is expected to issue its next quarterly earnings report before the market opens on Tuesday, September 26th.

On average, analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will report full-year sales of $1.93 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $7.96 billion to $8.07 billion. For the next fiscal year, analysts anticipate that the company will report sales of $8.36 billion per share, with estimates ranging from $8.22 billion to $8.46 billion. Zacks Investment Research’s sales calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow Darden Restaurants.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, June 27th. The restaurant operator reported $1.18 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.86 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.68% and a return on equity of 26.18%. Darden Restaurants’s revenue was up 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.10 EPS.

A number of analysts have weighed in on DRI shares. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, June 23rd. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. raised their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Monday, June 26th. Robert W. Baird reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $90.00 price objective (up previously from $85.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Monday, June 19th. BTIG Research cut shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, March 29th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company reissued a “market perform” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Tuesday, March 28th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. Darden Restaurants currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $84.78.

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Darden Restaurants (DRI) traded up 0.85% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $89.80. 148,197 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Darden Restaurants has a 52 week low of $59.50 and a 52 week high of $95.22. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $90.19 and its 200-day moving average is $81.87. The stock has a market capitalization of $11.23 billion, a PE ratio of 23.61 and a beta of 0.28.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, July 10th will be given a dividend of $0.63 per share. This is a positive change from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.83%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, July 6th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is presently 66.14%.

In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 93,125 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $91.58, for a total transaction of $8,528,387.50. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 165,062 shares in the company, valued at approximately $15,116,377.96. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 0.69% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of DRI. Van ECK Associates Corp raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 4.6% in the first quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 1,625 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 71 shares during the last quarter. Ledyard National Bank raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 399.4% in the first quarter. Ledyard National Bank now owns 1,638 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $137,000 after buying an additional 1,310 shares during the last quarter. Sippican Capital Advisors bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the second quarter valued at approximately $211,000. Carlson Capital Management bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the second quarter valued at approximately $215,000. Finally, MEMBERS Trust Co bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the first quarter valued at approximately $201,000. Institutional investors own 96.55% 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).

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Earnings History and Estimates for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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