Zacks: Brokerages Anticipate Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) Will Post Earnings of $1.74 Per Share

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Equities research analysts predict that Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) will announce earnings of $1.74 per share for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Ten analysts have provided estimates for Darden Restaurants’ earnings. The lowest EPS estimate is $1.71 and the highest is $1.78. Darden Restaurants reported earnings per share of $1.71 in the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 1.8%. The business is expected to announce its next quarterly earnings report on Thursday, March 28th.

On average, analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will report full year earnings of $5.69 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $5.64 to $5.80. For the next financial year, analysts anticipate that the firm will post earnings of $6.30 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.00 to $6.49. Zacks’ earnings per share averages are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that that provide coverage for Darden Restaurants.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, December 18th. The restaurant operator reported $0.92 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $1.97 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.98 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 8.12% and a return on equity of 30.48%. Darden Restaurants’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.73 EPS.

A number of equities research analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 4th. Loop Capital began coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, October 24th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $130.00 price target on the stock. Robert W. Baird dropped their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $115.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, December 19th. Maxim Group upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $119.00 to $122.00 in a research report on Wednesday, December 19th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 18th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and twenty have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $121.35.

Shares of NYSE DRI traded down $0.78 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $111.34. The company had a trading volume of 737,386 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,198,991. The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 0.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41. The stock has a market capitalization of $13.85 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.15, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.29. Darden Restaurants has a twelve month low of $82.38 and a twelve month high of $124.00.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Thursday, January 10th were paid a dividend of $0.75 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, January 9th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.69%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is 13.10%.

In related news, Director William S. Simon sold 1,565 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.90, for a total value of $164,168.50. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 10,248 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,075,015.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 0.65% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Private Capital Group LLC raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 356.5% during the fourth quarter. Private Capital Group LLC now owns 315 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $31,000 after acquiring an additional 246 shares in the last quarter. Highwater Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter valued at $67,000. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the third quarter valued at $149,000. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 171.8% in the third quarter. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd now owns 1,571 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $175,000 after purchasing an additional 993 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Smithfield Trust Co. boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 537.3% in the third quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 1,625 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $181,000 after purchasing an additional 1,370 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 93.49% of the company’s stock.

About Darden Restaurants

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

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