Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) Sets New 1-Year High on Analyst Upgrade

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)’s stock price reached a new 52-week high on Friday after Wells Fargo & Co raised their price target on the stock from $116.00 to $117.00. Wells Fargo & Co currently has a market perform rating on the stock. Darden Restaurants traded as high as $128.36 and last traded at $128.09, with a volume of 18996 shares. The stock had previously closed at $126.06.

A number of other research analysts have also weighed in on DRI. MKM Partners began coverage on Darden Restaurants in a report on Tuesday, August 13th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $120.00 target price on the stock. Stephens lowered Darden Restaurants from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $121.75 target price on the stock. in a report on Friday, June 28th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $125.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, June 12th. Deutsche Bank began coverage on Darden Restaurants in a report on Friday, June 28th. They set a “hold” rating and a $123.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Wedbush reissued a “hold” rating and set a $125.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Thursday, August 29th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $130.82.

In related news, CFO Ricardo Cardenas sold 14,128 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $124.87, for a total value of $1,764,163.36. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 23,848 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,977,899.76. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, COO David C. George sold 69,779 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, June 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $123.25, for a total value of $8,600,261.75. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 109,344 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $13,476,648. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 96,907 shares of company stock valued at $11,975,585 over the last 90 days. 0.47% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.5% during the 2nd quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. now owns 5,334 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $649,000 after acquiring an additional 81 shares during the period. NuWave Investment Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 34.5% during the 2nd quarter. NuWave Investment Management LLC now owns 351 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $43,000 after buying an additional 90 shares during the last quarter. HM Payson & Co. lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.8% during the 2nd quarter. HM Payson & Co. now owns 12,674 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,543,000 after buying an additional 101 shares during the last quarter. Wealthfront Advisers LLC lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 2.9% during the 1st quarter. Wealthfront Advisers LLC now owns 3,941 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $479,000 after buying an additional 112 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Leisure Capital Management lifted its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.8% during the 1st quarter. Leisure Capital Management now owns 6,534 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $794,000 after buying an additional 117 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.28% of the company’s stock.

The company has a current ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 0.46 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39. The firm has a market capitalization of $15.63 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.93, a P/E/G ratio of 1.97 and a beta of 0.34. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $121.62 and a two-hundred day moving average of $119.14.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, June 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.76 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.73 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 31.61% and a net margin of 8.38%. The business had revenue of $2.23 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.24 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.39 EPS. Darden Restaurants’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 6.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.

About Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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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