Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) – Stock analysts at Jefferies Group raised their FY2018 earnings per share estimates for Darden Restaurants in a report issued on Tuesday. Jefferies Group analyst A. Barish now expects that the restaurant operator will post earnings of $4.49 per share for the year, up from their prior estimate of $4.40. Jefferies Group has a “Hold” rating and a $90.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ Q1 2019 earnings at $1.03 EPS, Q2 2019 earnings at $0.76 EPS, Q3 2019 earnings at $1.58 EPS and Q4 2019 earnings at $1.37 EPS.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, September 26th. The restaurant operator reported $0.99 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.46% and a return on equity of 26.24%. The company had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.93 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.88 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 12.9% on a year-over-year basis.

DRI has been the topic of several other research reports. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. Longbow Research initiated coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Friday, October 13th. They issued a “neutral” rating on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $98.00 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday, December 14th. Maxim Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $90.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Thursday, September 21st. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company decreased their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $90.00 to $84.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, September 27th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $93.05.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE DRI) traded up $1.34 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $96.40. 1,384,106 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,780,000. Darden Restaurants has a 52 week low of $71.01 and a 52 week high of $98.29. The company has a quick ratio of 0.24, a current ratio of 0.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47. The stock has a market capitalization of $12,090.00, a PE ratio of 24.28, a P/E/G ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.22.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Bruderman Asset Management LLC raised its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.4% during the 2nd quarter. Bruderman Asset Management LLC now owns 2,532 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $229,000 after purchasing an additional 10 shares during the period. D.A. Davidson & CO. increased its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 1,271 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $114,000 after acquiring an additional 21 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS increased its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 9,238 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $835,000 after acquiring an additional 28 shares during the last quarter. BB&T Securities LLC increased its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 35,622 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $3,221,000 after acquiring an additional 90 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Argent Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. Argent Capital Management LLC now owns 5,125 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $464,000 after acquiring an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 91.45% of the company’s stock.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be given a dividend of $0.63 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, January 9th. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.61%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 63.48%.

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About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company. The Company owned and operated 1,536 restaurants through its subsidiaries in the United States and Canada, as of May 29, 2016. The Company’s segments include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining (which includes The Capital Grille, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille (Eddie V’s)) and Other Business (which includes Yard House, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, consumer-packaged goods and franchise revenues).

Earnings History and Estimates for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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