Brokerages expect Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) to post $1.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Nine analysts have provided estimates for Darden Restaurants’ earnings. The lowest EPS estimate is $1.46 and the highest is $1.69. Darden Restaurants posted earnings per share of $1.32 during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 22%. The business is expected to announce its next quarterly earnings report on Monday, March 26th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will report full-year earnings of $4.69 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $4.46 to $4.78. For the next year, analysts forecast that the business will post earnings of $5.24 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $4.77 to $5.74. Zacks’ earnings per share calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that cover Darden Restaurants.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its quarterly 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 return on equity of 26.24% and a net margin of 6.46%.

DRI has been the topic of several recent research reports. Oppenheimer restated a “buy” rating and issued a $100.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, September 20th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, September 22nd. Maxim Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $90.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Thursday, September 21st. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “sector perform” rating and issued a $90.00 price target (down previously from $96.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Friday, September 22nd. Finally, Stephens restated an “equal weight” rating and issued a $95.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, September 26th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $96.22.

In other news, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 4,300 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.05, for a total value of $417,315.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,513 shares in the company, valued at approximately $729,136.65. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CFO Ricardo Cardenas sold 10,783 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.17, for a total value of $1,047,784.11. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 20,046 shares in the company, valued at $1,947,869.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 74,866 shares of company stock worth $7,252,094. Company insiders own 0.63% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. M&R Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in Darden Restaurants in the 2nd quarter worth $108,000. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 1,271 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $114,000 after purchasing an additional 21 shares during the period. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC bought a new position in Darden Restaurants in the 3rd quarter worth $115,000. Grove Bank & Trust raised its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 155.6% in the 3rd quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 1,840 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $145,000 after purchasing an additional 1,120 shares during the period. Finally, Campbell & CO Investment Adviser LLC bought a new position in Darden Restaurants in the 3rd quarter worth $208,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 91.83% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE DRI) traded up $0.72 during trading on Thursday, hitting $97.46. The company had a trading volume of 1,212,300 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,575,927. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47, a current ratio of 0.34 and a quick ratio of 0.20. The stock has a market cap of $12,050.00, a P/E ratio of 24.55, a P/E/G ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 0.20. Darden Restaurants has a 52 week low of $71.43 and a 52 week high of $100.11.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be paid a $0.63 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, January 9th. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.59%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 63.48%.

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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).

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

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