Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) stock down despite upgrade at Zacks Investment Research

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) shares slid back in value yesterday on lighter trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock with a upgraded rating.

Analysts at Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) from Hold to Buy today. Zacks Investment Research currently has a rating of Buy on the shares. As a means of comparison, a number of other analysts have issued reports on the company in recent days, and the company has earned a consensus one-year price target of $69.09, higher than the opening price of $61.40. Darden Restaurants Inc. stock has a 52-week high of $68.68. Share prices often shift to the upside on recommendations and new price targets of professional brokerage firms.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks closed flat Thursday as trading stayed lukewarm in the wait for the nonfarm-payrolls report. U.S. employment growth likely picked up in September, putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates

For the week so far, the Dow industrials DJIA, -0.07% are down 0.2%, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.05% is off 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.17% has lost 0.1%.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) shares last traded at $60.95, which represents a decrease of $0.61 per share or -0.01 compared to the previous closing price. Opening at $61.40, they fluctuated from $60.69 and $61.60 throughout the day.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) now has a market cap of 7.69B.

Darden Restaurants Inc.Trading Volume

1,626,757 shares traded hands yesterday, lower than the norm, out of a total float 125,939,000. Trading volume is likely to increase in the next few days as swing traders often use upticks in trading volume to pinpoint large volume aggregation or distribution by institutional investors.

As with all potential breakouts, investors look for volume to be at least 40%-50% above normal on the breakout to show that fund managers and other professional investors are jumping in.

Institutional sponsorship commonly refers to ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

These instituitional investors retain substantial teams of analysts researching thousands of stocks. So watching their interests is a good way to ensure you are buying the right stocks.

Darden Restaurants Inc. Moving Averages

A moving average can also act as support or resistance. In an uptrend a 50-day, 100-day or 200-day moving average may act as a support level, as shown in the figure below.

This is because the average acts like a floor (support), so the price bounces up off of it.

In a downtrend a moving average may act as resistance; like a ceiling, the price hits it and then starts to drop again.

Traders are able to make make the best trades when they follow the activity of professional investors.

Trades for Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) have ranged from $53.38 – 68.68, and the stock now has a 50-day MA of $61.92 and 200-day MA of $63.81. Today’s last price is 0.11% lower than the 52 week high of $68.68.

Indeed, earnings growth is among the most crucial things to look at in regards to stock investing and, accordingly, investors seek companies that have been successful at growing their earnings at least 25% or more for 3 consecutive years.

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