Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 4.2% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The firm owned 8,005 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after buying an additional 325 shares during the period. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $972,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of the stock. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 14,173.2% during the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,131,508 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $41,000 after buying an additional 4,102,562 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new position in Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter worth $133,817,000. FMR LLC lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 211.9% during the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 1,547,369 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $154,520,000 after purchasing an additional 1,051,240 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 274.3% during the fourth quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 1,349,208 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $134,732,000 after purchasing an additional 988,753 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc lifted its stake in Darden Restaurants by 5.2% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 13,687,194 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,521,879,000 after purchasing an additional 673,563 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.90% of the company’s stock.

Several equities analysts recently issued reports on DRI shares. BTIG Research upgraded Darden Restaurants from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $119.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, December 18th. ValuEngine upgraded Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 18th. Maxim Group upgraded Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their target price for the company from $119.00 to $122.00 in a research note on Wednesday, December 19th. Robert W. Baird cut their target price on Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $115.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, December 19th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $108.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Monday, December 31st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eighteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Darden Restaurants has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $128.13.

In related news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 73,152 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $118.61, for a total transaction of $8,676,558.72. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 190,025 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $22,538,865.25. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, SVP John W. Madonna sold 330 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $118.76, for a total value of $39,190.80. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 1,680 shares in the company, valued at $199,516.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 75,047 shares of company stock worth $8,879,918. 0.65% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Shares of NYSE DRI traded down $0.61 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $115.89. 12,046 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,471,379. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 52 week low of $84.37 and a 52 week high of $124.00. The company has a quick ratio of 0.33, a current ratio of 0.48 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.40. The stock has a market cap of $14.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.11, a P/E/G ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.31.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 21st. The restaurant operator reported $1.80 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.75 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $2.25 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.24 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 8.08% and a return on equity of 30.28%. The company’s revenue was up 5.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.71 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 5.78 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, April 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.59%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 9th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is currently 62.37%.

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Darden Restaurants Profile

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

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