Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Monday. The brokerage presently has a $106.00 price objective on the restaurant operator’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would suggest a potential upside of 11.46% from the stock’s previous close.
According to Zacks, “Darden’s shares outpaced its industry so far this year. Most of its brands have witnessed growth over the past few quarters, given various sales initiatives like simplifying kitchen systems, operational excellence, menu innovation along with technology-driven moves. The acquisition of Cheddar's has added value to Darden's portfolio of differentiated brands. Further, the company’s efforts to check costs are commendable. Backed by these efforts, Darden’s second-quarter fiscal 2018 earnings topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the 13th consecutive quarter. Yet, rising labor costs and a non-franchised business model are likely to dampen the company’s profits while a soft industry backdrop might pressurize comps. Current-quarter and current-year estimates have moved northward over the past two months, reflecting analysts’ optimism surrounding the stock.”
Other analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Maxim Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $103.00 price objective (up from $93.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, December 20th. Argus raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $95.67 to $108.00 in a report on Thursday, December 21st. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Thursday, December 21st. BMO Capital Markets set a $101.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. Finally, Jefferies Group lifted their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $82.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 20th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $96.73.
Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, December 19th. The restaurant operator reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.70 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $1.88 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.85 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.46% and a return on equity of 26.24%. research analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post 4.76 earnings per share for the current year.
In other news, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 4,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.05, for a total transaction of $417,315.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,513 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $729,136.65. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Ricardo Cardenas sold 10,783 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.17, for a total transaction of $1,047,784.11. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 20,046 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,947,869.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 74,866 shares of company stock valued at $7,252,094. Insiders own 0.63% of the company’s stock.
Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Rodgers Brothers Inc. raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 16.1% during the fourth quarter. Rodgers Brothers Inc. now owns 3,975 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $382,000 after acquiring an additional 550 shares during the last quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 4.1% during the fourth quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 16,144 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,550,000 after acquiring an additional 636 shares during the last quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 3.9% during the third quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 18,038 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,421,000 after acquiring an additional 674 shares during the last quarter. BDO Wealth Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 6.1% during the third quarter. BDO Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 11,850 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $934,000 after acquiring an additional 685 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Juncture Wealth Strategies LLC increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 7.7% during the fourth quarter. Juncture Wealth Strategies LLC now owns 9,800 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $941,000 after buying an additional 700 shares during the period. 92.69% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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).
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