Shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) have earned an average rating of “Hold” from the twenty-seven ratings firms that are presently covering the company, Marketbeat reports. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, nineteen have issued a hold recommendation and six have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average twelve-month price target among analysts that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $84.65.

A number of analysts have commented on the company. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $94.00 target price (up from $90.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Raymond James Financial, Inc. reiterated a “market perform” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Monday, July 24th. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “sector perform” rating and set a $96.00 target price (up from $86.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Tuesday, June 27th. Deutsche Bank AG boosted their target price on Darden Restaurants from $84.00 to $94.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded Darden Restaurants from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, July 16th.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) traded up 0.62% on Friday, hitting $83.04. The stock had a trading volume of 568,789 shares. Darden Restaurants has a 12 month low of $60.16 and a 12 month high of $95.22. The stock has a market cap of $10.41 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.84 and a beta of 0.27. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $87.54 and a 200 day moving average of $83.10.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, June 27th. The restaurant operator reported $1.18 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ 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 return on equity of 26.18% and a net margin of 6.68%. Darden Restaurants’s quarterly revenue was up 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.10 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post $4.47 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 10th were given a $0.63 dividend. This is an increase from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.05%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, July 6th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is currently 66.14%.

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In related news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 93,125 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.58, for a total transaction of $8,528,387.50. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 165,062 shares in the company, valued at $15,116,377.96. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Corporate insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in DRI. D.A. Davidson & CO. increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 1.7% in the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 1,271 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 21 shares during the period. Trustmark National Bank Trust Department increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 39.3% in the second quarter. Trustmark National Bank Trust Department now owns 9,426 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $852,000 after buying an additional 2,660 shares during the period. Lazard Asset Management LLC increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 6.2% in the second quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 274,127 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $24,790,000 after buying an additional 16,018 shares during the period. New York State Common Retirement Fund increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 7.4% in the second quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 270,040 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $24,422,000 after buying an additional 18,639 shares during the period. Finally, Thrivent Financial For Lutherans increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 7.7% in the second quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans now owns 5,456 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $494,000 after buying an additional 389 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 95.48% 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).

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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