Darden Restaurants (DRI) Lifted to Buy at Bank of America

Bank of America upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday morning, Marketbeat reports. They currently have $120.00 target price on the restaurant operator’s stock, up from their previous target price of $113.00.

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on DRI. Argus lifted their target price on Darden Restaurants to $240.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, September 13th. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on Darden Restaurants from $103.00 to $110.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, September 13th. Maxim Group reiterated a hold rating and issued a $112.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Thursday, September 20th. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their target price on Darden Restaurants from $125.00 to $135.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, September 21st. Finally, Mizuho lifted their target price on Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $125.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, September 21st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and twenty have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Darden Restaurants presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $121.83.

Shares of Darden Restaurants stock opened at $107.99 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $12.95 billion, a PE ratio of 22.45, a P/E/G ratio of 1.91 and a beta of 0.33. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a current ratio of 0.41 and a quick ratio of 0.25. Darden Restaurants has a one year low of $82.38 and a one year high of $124.00.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, December 18th. The restaurant operator reported $0.92 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $1.97 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.98 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.48% and a net margin of 8.12%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.73 EPS. As a group, research analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post 5.67 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, January 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.78%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, January 9th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is currently 13.10%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of DRI. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 15.6% during the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,775,361 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,420,492,000 after acquiring an additional 1,720,934 shares during the period. Millennium Management LLC boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 290.8% during the 2nd quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,287,465 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $137,836,000 after acquiring an additional 958,040 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 100.8% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,520,183 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $162,751,000 after acquiring an additional 763,239 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 5.2% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 13,687,194 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,521,879,000 after acquiring an additional 673,563 shares during the period. Finally, Acadian Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 144.1% during the 3rd quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 429,977 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $47,805,000 after acquiring an additional 253,850 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 89.44% 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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Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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