Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Investment analysts at Jefferies Group increased their Q3 2018 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for Darden Restaurants in a note issued to investors on Thursday. Jefferies Group analyst A. Barish now expects that the restaurant operator will post earnings per share of $1.64 for the quarter, up from their prior estimate of $1.49. Jefferies Group currently has a “Hold” rating and a $90.00 target price on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ Q4 2018 earnings at $1.41 EPS and FY2018 earnings at $4.76 EPS.

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Oppenheimer reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, September 20th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Friday, September 22nd. Maxim Group raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $90.00 to $93.00 in a research report on Wednesday, September 27th. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $97.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, September 27th. Finally, Citigroup lowered their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $105.00 to $90.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $95.32.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) opened at $98.02 on Monday. Darden Restaurants has a 1 year low of $71.43 and a 1 year high of $100.11. The firm has a market cap of $12,120.00, a P/E ratio of 24.69, a PEG ratio of 1.90 and a beta of 0.20. The company has a quick ratio of 0.20, a current ratio of 0.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, December 19th. The restaurant operator reported $0.73 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.46% and a return on equity of 26.24%.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be given a $0.63 dividend. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.57%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, January 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is 63.48%.

In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 59,783 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.80, for a total value of $5,786,994.40. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 164,396 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $15,913,532.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 4,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.05, for a total transaction of $417,315.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 7,513 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $729,136.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 74,866 shares of company stock valued at $7,252,094 over the last three months. Insiders own 0.63% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Oak Point Wealth Management acquired a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter worth $510,000. Carlson Capital Management acquired a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter worth $229,000. Hefty Wealth Partners acquired a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter worth $1,029,000. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC lifted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 6.2% in the third quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 254,078 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $20,016,000 after buying an additional 14,785 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC lifted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 381.9% in the third quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC now owns 7,522 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $593,000 after buying an additional 5,961 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.83% 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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