Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by stock analysts at Maxim Group in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. They currently have a $112.00 target price on the restaurant operator’s stock. Maxim Group’s target price indicates a potential upside of 18.54% from the stock’s previous close.
The analysts wrote, “We maintain our Buy rating and $112 price target on Darden Restaurants (DRI) ahead of the release of F3Q18 (February) results on Thursday, March 22. Our F3Q18 EPS estimate is unchanged at $1.65 (vs. $1.64 consensus), though we raise our blended comp estimate to +2.9%, from +2.6% (vs. +2.5% consensus), as we model incremental traffic and off-premise gains. We believe multiple factors will contribute to sustained mid-teen EPS growth for at least the next 12-18 months. We still see room for potential near-term downside on food costs.””
DRI has been the topic of a number of other reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $98.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Thursday, December 14th. Credit Suisse Group restated a “hold” rating and set a $95.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Friday, January 12th. SunTrust Banks set a $94.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, December 11th. BMO Capital Markets set a $101.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein upped their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $91.00 to $99.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 20th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company. Darden Restaurants presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $96.73.
Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, December 19th. The restaurant operator reported $0.73 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $1.88 billion for 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%. sell-side analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants will post 4.76 EPS for the current fiscal year.
In other news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 59,783 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.80, for a total transaction of $5,786,994.40. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 164,396 shares in the company, valued at $15,913,532.80. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 4,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred 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 sale, the senior vice president now owns 7,513 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $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 ninety days. 0.63% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Cerebellum GP LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter worth $126,000. Grove Bank & Trust raised its position in Darden Restaurants by 155.6% in the third quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 1,840 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $145,000 after acquiring an additional 1,120 shares in the last quarter. Cetera Advisor Networks LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter worth $200,000. Texas Yale Capital Corp. purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter worth $205,000. Finally, Campbell & CO Investment Adviser LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants in the third quarter worth $208,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.69% 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).
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