RBC Capital Markets reissued their sector perform rating on shares of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) in a research report report published on Wednesday. They currently have a $70.00 price target on the restaurant operator’s stock.

Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a buy rating and issued a $76.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, July 5th. Tigress Financial upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, June 23rd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $76.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, June 15th. BTIG Research restated a buy rating and set a $75.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday, July 1st. Finally, Maxim Group reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $74.00 price target (down previously from $77.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Friday, July 1st. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Darden Restaurants presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $69.89.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) opened at 62.80 on Wednesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $61.94 and a 200-day moving average of $63.68. Darden Restaurants has a 1-year low of $53.38 and a 1-year high of $68.68. The company has a market cap of $7.73 billion, a PE ratio of 20.28 and a beta of 0.41.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 4th. The restaurant operator reported $0.88 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.82 by $0.06. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 5.73% and a return on equity of 24.97%. The business had revenue of $1.71 billion for the quarter. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.68 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 1.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Darden Restaurants will post $3.92 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, October 10th will be issued a $0.56 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 5th. This represents a $2.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.57%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 72.03%.

In other news, SVP Danielle L. Kirgan sold 8,780 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.47, for a total value of $548,486.60. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 15,989 shares in the company, valued at approximately $998,832.83. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, SVP Danielle L. Kirgan sold 28,127 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.47, for a total transaction of $1,757,093.69. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 15,989 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $998,832.83. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.68% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 26.0% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 182,051 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $12,070,000 after buying an additional 37,547 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Group LTD raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.2% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 1,233,733 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $81,798,000 after buying an additional 60,947 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 3,379,482 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $224,060,000 after buying an additional 14,628 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 19.5% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,790,033 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $118,681,000 after buying an additional 292,221 shares during the last quarter. Finally, NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. acquired a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the first quarter worth $4,683,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 94.57% of the company’s stock.

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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