Brokerages expect Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) to post $1.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Eleven analysts have provided estimates for Darden Restaurants’ earnings. The lowest EPS estimate is $1.25 and the highest is $1.45. Darden Restaurants posted earnings per share of $1.34 during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 1.5%. The business is expected to announce its next quarterly earnings report on Thursday, September 19th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will report full-year earnings of $6.39 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.30 to $6.50. For the next year, analysts forecast that the business will post earnings of $6.84 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.74 to $7.02. Zacks’ earnings per share calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that cover Darden Restaurants.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.76 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.73 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 8.38% and a return on equity of 31.61%. The company had revenue of $2.23 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.24 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.39 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 4.5% compared to the same quarter last year.

Several equities analysts have commented on DRI shares. Maxim Group cut shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $126.00 price target for the company. in a research report on Tuesday, July 16th. MKM Partners assumed coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Tuesday. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $120.00 price objective on the stock. UBS Group assumed coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Friday, April 26th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $133.00 price objective on the stock. Deutsche Bank assumed coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Friday, June 28th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $123.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $125.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, June 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $130.76.

DRI stock traded down $1.89 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $114.91. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,437,809 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,287,041. The company has a quick ratio of 0.46, a current ratio of 0.61 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39. Darden Restaurants has a 52-week low of $95.83 and a 52-week high of $126.75. The firm has a market capitalization of $14.85 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.74, a PEG ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 0.32. The firm has a 50-day simple moving average of $122.50 and a 200-day simple moving average of $117.68.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, August 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, July 10th were paid a dividend of $0.88 per share. This is a positive change from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.75. This represents a $3.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.06%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, July 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 60.48%.

In related news, insider Daniel J. Kiernan sold 12,000 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $123.92, for a total transaction of $1,487,040.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 14,577 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,806,381.84. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, COO David C. George sold 69,779 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Monday, June 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $123.25, for a total transaction of $8,600,261.75. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 109,344 shares in the company, valued at $13,476,648. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 96,907 shares of company stock worth $11,975,585 over the last quarter. 0.47% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of DRI. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 1.9% during the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 727,300 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $72,624,000 after acquiring an additional 13,527 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 11.6% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,825,671 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $182,031,000 after acquiring an additional 189,466 shares during the period. Virtu Financial LLC purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the 1st quarter valued at about $886,000. Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new position in Darden Restaurants during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $330,000. Finally, Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC raised its position in Darden Restaurants by 20.8% during the 1st quarter. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC now owns 655 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $79,000 after purchasing an additional 113 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 89.16% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants Company 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.

See Also: Debt-To-Equity Ratio

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

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