Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Equities researchers at Oppenheimer Holdings raised their Q3 2018 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report issued on Thursday. Oppenheimer Holdings analyst B. Bittner now expects that the restaurant operator will post earnings of $1.48 per share for the quarter, up from their prior forecast of $1.46. Oppenheimer Holdings has a “Outperform” rating and a $100.00 price target on the stock.

Several other research firms have also recently commented on DRI. J P Morgan Chase & Co restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $93.00 target price (up previously from $82.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Canaccord Genuity restated a “buy” rating and issued a $102.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday, June 9th. BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $85.00 to $87.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Friday, June 30th. Credit Suisse Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $74.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, March 29th. Finally, Morgan Stanley restated an “equal weight” rating and issued a $86.00 target price (up previously from $83.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $84.78.

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Shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE DRI) traded down 0.74% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $88.91. 655,254 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a market capitalization of $11.11 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.38 and a beta of 0.28. Darden Restaurants has a 52-week low of $59.50 and a 52-week high of $95.22. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $90.28 and its 200 day moving average price is $81.99.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, June 27th. The restaurant operator reported $1.18 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $1.94 billion during 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%. The firm’s revenue was up 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.10 earnings per share.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Wedbush Securities Inc. increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.4% in the first quarter. Wedbush Securities Inc. now owns 3,180 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $266,000 after buying an additional 13 shares during the period. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.5% in the first quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. now owns 4,798 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $401,000 after buying an additional 26 shares during the period. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC now owns 6,970 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $522,000 after buying an additional 27 shares during the period. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.3% in the second quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA now owns 9,630 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $871,000 after buying an additional 30 shares during the period. Finally, ARP Americas LLC increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.1% in the first quarter. ARP Americas LLC now owns 5,473 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $458,000 after buying an additional 60 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 96.55% of the company’s stock.

In related news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 93,125 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $91.58, for a total value of $8,528,387.50. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 165,062 shares in the company, valued at approximately $15,116,377.96. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.68% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Investors of record on Monday, July 10th will be given a $0.63 dividend. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.81%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, July 6th. This is an increase from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is 66.14%.

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).

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

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