Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) Shares Slip, Investors Watching Closely, Here is Why

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) shares rose on Thursday Nov 17 with lower trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock with a downgraded rating.

Meanwhile, stocks opened flat this morning, struggling for direction in early trade ahead of congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Ahead of an appearance before the Joint Economic Committee, Yellen said an interest-rate hike could come “relatively soon,”

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.25% fell less than 0.1% to 2,176.85 while Dow Industrials DJIA, -0.05% fell 9 points to 18,858. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.18% declined 0.1% to 5,291.48.

Analysts at Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) from Buy to Hold in a research note to investors today. The company currently has a rating of Hold on the stock. As a means of comparison, a number of other analysts have issued reports on the company in recent days, and the company has secured a consensus one-year price target of $69.10, less than the opening price of $71.52, a difference of 9.60 percent. Darden Restaurants Inc. stock has a 52-week high of $73.28. Considerable and crucial digressions in the company’s actions, future direction or industry can cause downgrades as the analysts feel that the future prospects for the security have diminished from the original recommendation.

Shares of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) opened at $71.52 on Monday and traded in a range between, $70.97 and $72.08, and last traded at $71.98, which is an increase of $0.38 or 0.52% from the previous closing price.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) now has a market cap of 8.86B.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) Average Daily Trading Volume

271,005 shares traded hands yesterday, lower than the average, out of a total float 122,795,000. Swing traders often use upticks in trading volume to pinpoint substantial volume accumulation or dissemination by institutional investors, so look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days.

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

Institutional sponsorship is defined by ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

Professional investors such as these have teams of analysts researching thousands of stocks, so it is good corroboration to see them buying a stock you’re researching.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) 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.

By identifying trends, moving averages allow traders to make those trends work in their favor and increase the number of winning trades.

With that in mind, Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) now has a 50-day MA of $64.03 and 200-day MA of $63.75. It has traded in a 52-week range between $53.89 – 73.280 and today’s last price is 1.78%% lower than the 52 week high of $73.28.

Earnings growth is an important factor to look at when buying stocks and investors watch for companies that have raised their earnings by at least 25% for the past 3 years.

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