Analysts expect Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) to post $1.98 billion in sales for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Nine analysts have made estimates for Darden Restaurants’ earnings. The highest sales estimate is $2.00 billion and the lowest is $1.96 billion. Darden Restaurants posted sales of $1.88 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 5.3%. The company is scheduled to report its next earnings results before the market opens on Tuesday, December 18th.
On average, analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will report full year sales of $8.51 billion for the current financial year, with estimates ranging from $8.49 billion to $8.56 billion. For the next fiscal year, analysts anticipate that the business will post sales of $9.07 billion, with estimates ranging from $8.89 billion to $9.20 billion. Zacks’ sales calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow Darden Restaurants.
Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.32% and a net margin of 7.84%. The firm had revenue of $2.06 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.03 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.99 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year.
A number of equities analysts have weighed in on the stock. Robert W. Baird cut shares of Darden Restaurants from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, September 10th. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $103.00 to $110.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 13th. Argus upped their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants to $240.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 13th. Goldman Sachs Group raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $106.00 to $130.00 in a research report on Tuesday, September 11th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Maxim Group reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $112.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Thursday, September 20th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and eighteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Darden Restaurants currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $119.84.
NYSE:DRI opened at $104.83 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a current ratio of 0.41 and a quick ratio of 0.26. The stock has a market capitalization of $13.37 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.79, a PEG ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.17. Darden Restaurants has a 1-year low of $82.38 and a 1-year high of $124.00.
In other news, COO David C. George sold 55,671 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, October 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.24, for a total transaction of $6,025,829.04. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 95,236 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,308,344.64. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 60,688 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.63, for a total transaction of $6,835,289.44. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 147,561 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,619,795.43. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.65% of the company’s stock.
Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.2% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 13,687,194 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,521,879,000 after purchasing an additional 673,563 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 15.6% during the third quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,775,361 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,420,492,000 after purchasing an additional 1,720,934 shares during the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.7% during the third quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 4,186,478 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $465,494,000 after purchasing an additional 68,892 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 100.8% during the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,520,183 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $162,751,000 after acquiring an additional 763,239 shares during the period. Finally, Millennium Management LLC raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 290.8% during the second quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,287,465 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $137,836,000 after acquiring an additional 958,040 shares during the period. 90.52% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. As of May 27, 2018, it owned and operated approximately 1,746 restaurants under the Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, and Eddie V's brands.
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