Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) was upgraded by research analysts at Raymond James Financial Inc. from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on DRI. 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. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “market perform” rating and issued a $64.00 price target (down previously from $66.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, July 5th. SunTrust Banks Inc. cut their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $70.00 to $67.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 5th. Stifel Nicolaus cut shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $53.00 price target for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, July 26th. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, June 28th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Darden Restaurants has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $69.89.

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) traded up 0.69% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $63.00. 117,927 shares of the company traded hands. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $61.94 and its 200-day moving average is $63.57. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.75 billion, a PE ratio of 20.34 and a beta of 0.41. Darden Restaurants has a 12-month low of $53.38 and a 12-month high of $68.68.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 4th. The restaurant operator reported $0.88 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ 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 earned $1.71 billion during the quarter. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.68 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants will post $3.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 1st. Investors of record on Monday, October 10th will be given a dividend of $0.56 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, October 5th. This represents a $2.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.58%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 72.03%.

In related news, SVP Danielle L. Kirgan sold 8,780 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.47, for a total transaction of $548,486.60. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 15,989 shares in the company, valued at approximately $998,832.83. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP Danielle L. Kirgan sold 28,127 shares of Darden Restaurants 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 sale, the senior vice president now owns 15,989 shares in the company, valued at $998,832.83. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.69% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Peddock Capital Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 4.6% in the third quarter. Peddock Capital Advisors LLC now owns 8,114 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $498,000 after buying an additional 359 shares during the period. MSI Financial Services Inc increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 7.2% in the third quarter. MSI Financial Services Inc now owns 4,225 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $259,000 after buying an additional 282 shares during the period. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 24.6% in the third quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 57,236 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $3,510,000 after buying an additional 11,297 shares during the period. Capstone Asset Management Co. increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 8.9% in the third quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. now owns 8,978 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $551,000 after buying an additional 730 shares during the period. Finally, Searle & CO. purchased a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth about $216,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 94.45% 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).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:DRI

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