Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. increased its position in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 16.0% in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 26,859 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after purchasing an additional 3,701 shares during the period. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd.’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $3,018,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other large investors also recently modified their holdings of the business. Leisure Capital Management boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.4% during the 4th quarter. Leisure Capital Management now owns 6,516 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $710,000 after buying an additional 93 shares during the period. State of Michigan Retirement System boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.3% during the 3rd quarter. State of Michigan Retirement System now owns 29,553 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $3,494,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. Regentatlantic Capital LLC boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.5% during the 3rd quarter. Regentatlantic Capital LLC now owns 8,041 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $951,000 after buying an additional 122 shares during the period. World Asset Management Inc boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.3% during the 3rd quarter. World Asset Management Inc now owns 9,238 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,092,000 after buying an additional 123 shares during the period. Finally, Investment Management of Virginia LLC boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.3% during the 3rd quarter. Investment Management of Virginia LLC now owns 9,975 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,179,000 after buying an additional 125 shares during the period. 90.04% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of equities research analysts have issued reports on the stock. Evercore ISI reissued a “buy” rating and set a $135.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Sunday, December 22nd. Barclays cut their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $130.00 to $126.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, October 18th. Wedbush restated a “hold” rating and set a $125.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, December 4th. Stephens cut their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $125.00 to $115.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, December 20th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group began coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Thursday, December 12th. They set a “sell” rating and a $115.00 price target on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $127.62.

In related news, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 791 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Thursday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $113.32, for a total value of $89,636.12. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 6,002 shares in the company, valued at approximately $680,146.64. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Charles M. Sonsteby bought 1,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 31st. The stock was purchased at an average price of $112.26 per share, for a total transaction of $168,390.00. Company insiders own 0.47% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants stock opened at $121.71 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $14.99 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.18, a P/E/G ratio of 2.07 and a beta of 0.33. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 1-year low of $106.75 and a 1-year high of $128.41. The company has a current ratio of 0.34, a quick ratio of 0.21 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.30. The firm’s fifty day simple moving average is $115.25 and its 200-day simple moving average is $116.58.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, December 19th. The restaurant operator reported $1.12 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.06 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 7.23% and a return on equity of 32.25%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.92 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 6.38 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, February 3rd. Investors of record on Friday, January 10th were issued a $0.88 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, January 9th. This represents a $3.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.89%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 60.48%.

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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