Wedbush Raises Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) Price Target to $162.00

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) had its target price raised by Wedbush from $150.00 to $162.00 in a research report released on Thursday, The Fly reports. The firm currently has a neutral rating on the restaurant operator’s stock. The analysts noted that the move was a valuation call.

DRI has been the subject of a number of other reports. BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $140.00 to $150.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a report on Friday, June 25th. Truist decreased their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $170.00 to $167.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a report on Friday, June 25th. Truist Securities upped their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $158.00 to $170.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, June 9th. Stifel Nicolaus upped their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $155.00 to $165.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Thursday. Finally, Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft upped their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $145.00 to $152.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Monday, June 28th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-two have issued a buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat, the stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $167.13.

Shares of NYSE:DRI opened at $158.70 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $20.68 billion, a PE ratio of 33.27, a P/E/G ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 1.54. Darden Restaurants has a 1 year low of $89.34 and a 1 year high of $164.28. The firm has a fifty day moving average price of $146.32 and a 200 day moving average price of $143.42. The company has a current ratio of 1.01, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, September 22nd. The restaurant operator reported $1.76 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.65 by $0.11. The firm had revenue of $2.31 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.24 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 8.74% and a return on equity of 22.25%. Darden Restaurants’s revenue for the quarter was up 51.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.56 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post 7.41 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 8th will be issued a $1.10 dividend. This represents a $4.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.77%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 7th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is currently 102.09%.

Darden Restaurants announced that its board has approved a share buyback program on Thursday, September 23rd that allows the company to buyback $750.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the restaurant operator to repurchase up to 3.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, insider Todd Burrowes sold 5,232 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, July 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $150.04, for a total transaction of $785,009.28. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 36,577 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,488,013.08. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, COO Ricardo Cardenas sold 7,989 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $151.27, for a total value of $1,208,496.03. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 50,944 shares in the company, valued at $7,706,298.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 141,327 shares of company stock worth $21,170,373. 0.95% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in DRI. Monumental Financial Group Inc. bought a new position in Darden Restaurants in the 2nd quarter valued at $25,000. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 65.4% in the 1st quarter. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC now owns 215 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $31,000 after buying an additional 85 shares during the last quarter. E Fund Management Co. Ltd. bought a new position in Darden Restaurants in the 1st quarter valued at $33,000. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 57.7% in the 2nd quarter. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC now owns 235 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $34,000 after buying an additional 86 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Certified Advisory Corp acquired a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants in the 1st quarter valued at $36,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 87.38% of the company’s stock.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company, which engages in the provision of restaurant services. It operates through the following segments: Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining, and Other Business. The Olive Garden segment is the largest full-service dining Italian restaurant operator.

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