Traders Purchase Large Volume of Call Options on Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)


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Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) saw some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Stock traders acquired 24,014 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 1,004% compared to the average daily volume of 2,176 call options.

In other news, SVP Susan M. Connelly sold 7,783 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $144.83, for a total transaction of $1,127,211.89. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 10,143 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,469,010.69. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, COO Ricardo Cardenas sold 1,200 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, April 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $147.04, for a total value of $176,448.00. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 48,169 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,082,769.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 134,254 shares of company stock valued at $18,225,231 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Truist Financial Corp boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 40.8% in the 4th quarter. Truist Financial Corp now owns 78,293 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $9,326,000 after purchasing an additional 22,675 shares during the period. Rothschild Investment Corp IL boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 13.1% in the fourth quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 4,850 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $578,000 after buying an additional 560 shares during the period. Conning Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $234,000. ExodusPoint Capital Management LP acquired a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth approximately $1,333,000. Finally, Boston Partners increased its stake in Darden Restaurants by 1.4% during the 4th quarter. Boston Partners now owns 768,899 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $91,591,000 after acquiring an additional 10,498 shares during the period. 89.35% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Darden Restaurants stock opened at $145.75 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $19.00 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of -151.82, a PEG ratio of 2.31 and a beta of 1.48. The company has a current ratio of 0.72, a quick ratio of 0.59 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38. Darden Restaurants has a 12 month low of $56.51 and a 12 month high of $149.73. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $140.09 and its 200-day moving average is $122.37.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, March 24th. The restaurant operator reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.29. The business had revenue of $1.73 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.60 billion. Darden Restaurants had a positive return on equity of 10.47% and a negative net margin of 1.70%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 26.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.90 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts predict that Darden Restaurants will post 3.3 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, May 3rd. Stockholders of record on Friday, April 9th will be given a $0.88 dividend. This represents a $3.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.42%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, April 8th. This is a boost from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is presently 47.28%.

Several brokerages have recently weighed in on DRI. The Goldman Sachs Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Friday, March 19th. Stephens raised their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $155.00 to $170.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 31st. Piper Sandler lifted their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $123.00 to $135.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 27th. Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $141.00 to $160.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 1st. Finally, Cowen raised their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $113.00 to $134.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday, March 15th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-one have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $138.06.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. As of May 31, 2020, it owned and operated approximately 1,804 restaurants, which included 868 under the Olive Garden, 522 under the LongHorn Steakhouse, 165 under the Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, 81 under the Yard House, 60 under The Capital Grille, 44 under the Seasons 52, 41 under the Bahama Breeze, and 23 under the Eddie V's Prime Seafood brands.

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