Investors Purchase Large Volume of Put Options on Darden Restaurants (DRI)

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) saw some unusual options trading on Tuesday. Stock traders purchased 6,612 put options on the company. This is an increase of 950% compared to the average daily volume of 630 put options.

Several analysts recently weighed in on the company. Wells Fargo & Co reissued a “market perform” rating and set a $99.00 price target (up from $92.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Tuesday. SunTrust Banks set a $104.00 price target on Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “hold” rating and set a $95.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Friday. BMO Capital Markets set a $99.00 price target on Darden Restaurants and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday. Finally, Stephens reissued an “equal weight” rating and set a $95.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Tuesday, September 26th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $95.32.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (DRI) traded up $0.42 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $98.02. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,076,331 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,725,388. The firm has a market cap of $12,056.90, a PE ratio of 25.13, a PEG ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 0.20. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47, a current ratio of 0.34 and a quick ratio of 0.20. Darden Restaurants has a 52-week low of $71.43 and a 52-week high of $100.11.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be issued a $0.63 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, January 9th. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.57%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 64.62%.

In other news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 59,783 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.80, for a total value of $5,786,994.40. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 164,396 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $15,913,532.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CFO Ricardo Cardenas sold 10,783 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.17, for a total value of $1,047,784.11. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 20,046 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,947,869.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 74,866 shares of company stock valued at $7,252,094. Insiders own 0.63% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 1,271 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $114,000 after acquiring an additional 21 shares in the last quarter. M&R Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants in the 2nd quarter valued at $108,000. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC bought a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants in the 3rd quarter valued at $115,000. Grove Bank & Trust increased its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 155.6% in the 3rd quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 1,840 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $145,000 after purchasing an additional 1,120 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Carlson Capital Management bought a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants in the 4th quarter valued at $229,000. 91.45% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Darden Restaurants Company Profile

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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