Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Research analysts at Oppenheimer Holdings cut their Q1 2018 EPS estimates for shares of Darden Restaurants in a note issued to investors on Thursday. Oppenheimer Holdings analyst B. Bittner now forecasts that the restaurant operator will post earnings of $0.98 per share for the quarter, down from their previous forecast of $0.99. Oppenheimer Holdings currently has a “Outperform” rating and a $100.00 target price on the stock. Oppenheimer Holdings also issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ Q2 2018 earnings at $0.75 EPS and Q4 2018 earnings at $1.28 EPS.

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Bank of America Corporation set a $80.00 price objective on Darden Restaurants and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, June 26th. Canaccord Genuity restated a “buy” rating and issued a $102.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Friday, June 9th. Credit Suisse Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $74.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, March 29th. Zacks Investment Research cut Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, June 23rd. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company reaffirmed a “market perform” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Tuesday, March 28th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. Darden Restaurants has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $84.78.

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Darden Restaurants (DRI) opened at 88.68 on Monday. Darden Restaurants has a 1-year low of $59.50 and a 1-year high of $95.22. The company has a 50 day moving average of $90.28 and a 200 day moving average of $81.99. The firm has a market capitalization of $11.09 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.32 and a beta of 0.28.

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

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, July 10th will be given a $0.63 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 6th. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.84%. This is an increase from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. 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 that occurred on Thursday, June 29th. The stock was 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 $15,116,377.96. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Insiders own 0.69% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in DRI. Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc. increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 255.5% in the second quarter. Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc. now owns 1,422 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $129,000 after buying an additional 1,022 shares during the last quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp increased 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 increased 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. Huntington National Bank increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 4.6% in the second quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 1,578 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $143,000 after buying an additional 70 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First Manhattan Co. increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 2.8% in the first quarter. First Manhattan Co. now owns 2,754 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $168,000 after buying an additional 75 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 96.62% 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).

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

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