Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Analysts at SunTrust Banks upped their Q4 2018 EPS estimates for shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. SunTrust Banks analyst J. Bartlett now anticipates that the restaurant operator will post earnings per share of $1.34 for the quarter, up from their prior forecast of $1.31. SunTrust Banks has a “Hold” rating on the stock.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, September 26th. The restaurant operator reported $0.99 EPS for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.99. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.46% and a return on equity of 26.24%. The firm had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.93 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.88 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 12.9% compared to the same quarter last year.

DRI has been the topic of several other research reports. Royal Bank of Canada lowered their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $96.00 to $90.00 and set a “sector perform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, September 27th. Oppenheimer reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, September 20th. BMO Capital Markets set a $101.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $82.00 price target (down previously from $90.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, September 27th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating and set a $88.00 price target (down previously from $93.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, September 27th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have issued a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $93.05.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) traded down $0.61 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $95.06. 1,615,700 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,631,178. Darden Restaurants has a 1 year low of $71.01 and a 1 year high of $98.29. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47, a current ratio of 0.34 and a quick ratio of 0.24. The stock has a market capitalization of $11,760.00, a P/E ratio of 22.67, a PEG ratio of 2.06 and a beta of 0.22.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be given a dividend of $0.63 per share. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.65%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, January 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 63.48%.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 2.7% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,779,249 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,065,316,000 after acquiring an additional 314,996 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 0.3% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 5,479,782 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $495,583,000 after acquiring an additional 14,883 shares during the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 2.2% in the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 3,317,326 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $261,339,000 after purchasing an additional 72,824 shares during the last quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. grew its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 34.4% in the third quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 2,361,712 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $186,056,000 after purchasing an additional 604,364 shares during the last quarter. Finally, HS Management Partners LLC bought a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants in the third quarter worth about $157,044,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.45% of the company’s stock.

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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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