Zacks Investment Research Lowers Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Darden posted solid first-quarter fiscal 2018 results with the bottom and the top line surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate. In fact, the reported quarter marked the 12th successive earnings beat for the company. Going forward, various sales initiatives and technology-driven moves are expected to boost the top line. Additionally, efforts to attract guests at Olive Garden, LongHorn and other units, along with the cost saving measures are encouraging. However, Darden’s shares underperformed its industry in the past six months. A soft consumer spending environment might keep comps under pressure, while rising labor costs and a non-franchised business model are likely to dampen the company’s profits, moving ahead.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co restated a neutral rating and set a $93.00 target price (up previously from $82.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Jefferies Group LLC increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $80.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reiterated a neutral rating and issued a $87.00 price objective (up previously from $81.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Maxim Group reiterated a hold rating and issued a $90.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, June 21st. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $86.00 to $96.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $87.59.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) traded up 0.87% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $82.68. 1,137,292 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a market capitalization of $10.23 billion, a PE ratio of 21.41 and a beta of 0.24. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $80.80 and a 200 day moving average price of $85.25. Darden Restaurants has a one year low of $60.97 and a one year high of $95.22.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, September 26th. The restaurant operator reported $0.99 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99. The business had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.93 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.60% and a return on equity of 26.06%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.88 EPS. Analysts predict that Darden Restaurants will post $4.44 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, October 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.63 per share. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.07%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, October 6th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 65.12%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 2.7% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,779,249 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,065,316,000 after buying an additional 314,996 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 5,479,782 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $495,583,000 after buying an additional 14,883 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 3,244,502 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $293,433,000 after buying an additional 15,194 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 6.8% during the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,560,672 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $130,440,000 after buying an additional 99,787 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 66.8% during the 2nd quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 1,275,399 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $115,348,000 after buying an additional 510,969 shares in the last quarter. 89.56% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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).

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According to Zacks, “Darden posted solid first-quarter fiscal 2018 results with the bottom and the top line surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate. In fact, the reported quarter marked the 12th successive earnings beat for the company. Going forward, various sales initiatives and technology-driven moves are expected to boost the top line. Additionally, efforts to attract guests at Olive Garden, LongHorn and other units, along with the cost saving measures are encouraging. However, Darden’s shares underperformed its industry in the past six months. A soft consumer spending environment might keep comps under pressure, while rising labor costs and a non-franchised business model are likely to dampen the company’s profits, moving ahead.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co restated a neutral rating and set a $93.00 target price (up previously from $82.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Jefferies Group LLC increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $80.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reiterated a neutral rating and issued a $87.00 price objective (up previously from $81.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Maxim Group reiterated a hold rating and issued a $90.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, June 21st. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $86.00 to $96.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $87.59.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) traded up 0.87% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $82.68. 1,137,292 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a market capitalization of $10.23 billion, a PE ratio of 21.41 and a beta of 0.24. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $80.80 and a 200 day moving average price of $85.25. Darden Restaurants has a one year low of $60.97 and a one year high of $95.22.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, September 26th. The restaurant operator reported $0.99 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99. The business had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.93 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.60% and a return on equity of 26.06%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.88 EPS. Analysts predict that Darden Restaurants will post $4.44 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, October 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.63 per share. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.07%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, October 6th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 65.12%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 2.7% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,779,249 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,065,316,000 after buying an additional 314,996 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 5,479,782 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $495,583,000 after buying an additional 14,883 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 3,244,502 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $293,433,000 after buying an additional 15,194 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 6.8% during the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,560,672 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $130,440,000 after buying an additional 99,787 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. grew its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 66.8% during the 2nd quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 1,275,399 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $115,348,000 after buying an additional 510,969 shares in the last quarter. 89.56% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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).

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Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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