Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) Upgraded to “Buy” by StockNews.com

StockNews.com upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRIGet Rating) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Monday morning.

A number of other brokerages have also weighed in on DRI. TheStreet upgraded Darden Restaurants from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a research report on Monday, May 9th. Raymond James cut their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $153.00 to $136.00 in a research report on Wednesday, June 15th. Oppenheimer cut their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $175.00 to $155.00 and set an outperform rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Citigroup lifted their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $134.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, June 24th. Finally, MKM Partners cut their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $165.00 to $150.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, June 14th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. According to MarketBeat, Darden Restaurants currently has a consensus rating of Moderate Buy and an average price target of $141.65.

Darden Restaurants Price Performance

Shares of Darden Restaurants stock opened at $124.75 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a current ratio of 0.64 and a quick ratio of 0.49. The business’s 50 day simple moving average is $118.98 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $128.59. The stock has a market capitalization of $15.46 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.86, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.64 and a beta of 1.31. Darden Restaurants has a one year low of $110.96 and a one year high of $164.28.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRIGet Rating) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 23rd. The restaurant operator reported $2.24 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.21 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $2.60 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.54 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 39.05% and a net margin of 9.89%. Analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post 7.7 EPS for the current year.

Darden Restaurants declared that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Thursday, June 23rd that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the restaurant operator to buy up to 6.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

Darden Restaurants Increases Dividend

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, August 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, July 8th were paid a $1.21 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, July 7th. This represents a $4.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.88%. This is a boost from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $1.10. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is currently 65.41%.

Insider Transactions at Darden Restaurants

In other news, Director Nana Mensah sold 567 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.03, for a total value of $66,356.01. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 10 shares in the company, valued at $1,170.30. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. In other news, Director Nana Mensah sold 567 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.03, for a total value of $66,356.01. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 10 shares in the company, valued at $1,170.30. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Timothy J. Wilmott purchased 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 28th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $120.00 per share, with a total value of $1,200,000.00. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 27,094 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,251,280. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 0.95% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Trading of Darden Restaurants

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 1.3% during the fourth quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. now owns 5,800 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $874,000 after acquiring an additional 74 shares during the last quarter. Resources Investment Advisors LLC. increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 5.7% during the fourth quarter. Resources Investment Advisors LLC. now owns 1,437 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $216,000 after acquiring an additional 78 shares during the last quarter. Affinity Investment Advisors LLC increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 0.7% in the first quarter. Affinity Investment Advisors LLC now owns 12,330 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,639,000 after buying an additional 81 shares in the last quarter. Cetera Advisor Networks LLC increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 2.6% in the first quarter. Cetera Advisor Networks LLC now owns 3,237 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $430,000 after buying an additional 83 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Guggenheim Capital LLC increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 0.8% in the first quarter. Guggenheim Capital LLC now owns 12,023 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,598,000 after buying an additional 92 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.71% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

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Darden Restaurants, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. As of May 30, 2021, it owned and operated 1,834 restaurants, which included 875 under the Olive Garden, 533 under the LongHorn Steakhouse, 170 under the Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, 81 under the Yard House, 63 under The Capital Grille, 44 under the Seasons 52, 42 under the Bahama Breeze, and 26 under the Eddie V's Prime Seafood brands.

Further Reading

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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