Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) Shares Sold by Commonwealth Equity Services LLC

Commonwealth Equity Services LLC decreased its stake in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRIGet Rating) by 2.9% in the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 38,383 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after selling 1,131 shares during the period. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $5,103,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other large investors have also modified their holdings of the stock. Ardevora Asset Management LLP purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants in the 1st quarter valued at $61,582,000. Capital Research Global Investors raised its position in Darden Restaurants by 41.2% in the 4th quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 1,426,520 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $214,886,000 after purchasing an additional 416,048 shares during the last quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants in the 4th quarter valued at $30,928,000. Marshall Wace LLP purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants in the 4th quarter valued at $27,464,000. Finally, State Street Corp raised its position in Darden Restaurants by 3.2% in the 4th quarter. State Street Corp now owns 5,513,669 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $830,579,000 after purchasing an additional 171,741 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 90.71% of the company’s stock.

Insiders Place Their Bets

In related news, Director Timothy J. Wilmott acquired 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 28th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $120.00 per share, for a total transaction of $1,200,000.00. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 27,094 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,251,280. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. In related news, Director Timothy J. Wilmott acquired 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 28th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $120.00 per share, for a total transaction of $1,200,000.00. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 27,094 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,251,280. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 41,442 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $124.71, for a total transaction of $5,168,231.82. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 222,480 shares in the company, valued at $27,745,480.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.95% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Darden Restaurants Price Performance

Darden Restaurants stock opened at $126.87 on Thursday. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 12-month low of $110.96 and a 12-month high of $164.28. The stock has a market capitalization of $15.73 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.14, a P/E/G ratio of 1.64 and a beta of 1.31. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $119.47 and its two-hundred day moving average is $128.42. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a current ratio of 0.64 and a quick ratio of 0.49.

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

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

Darden Restaurants Increases Dividend

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, August 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, July 8th were paid a dividend of $1.21 per share. This is a boost from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $1.10. This represents a $4.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.81%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, July 7th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 65.41%.

Analysts Set New Price Targets

Several analysts recently commented on DRI shares. Royal Bank of Canada reduced their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $151.00 to $143.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, June 24th. Citigroup upped their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $134.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 24th. Barclays cut their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $135.00 to $130.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, June 24th. Piper Sandler lowered their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $153.00 to $150.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, June 24th. Finally, UBS Group lowered their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $172.00 to $155.00 in a research note on Friday, June 17th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have given a buy rating to the company. According to MarketBeat.com, Darden Restaurants has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $141.65.

About Darden Restaurants

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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.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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