Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) was downgraded by stock analysts at Maxim Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday. They presently have a $74.00 price target on the restaurant operator’s stock. Maxim Group’s price objective would indicate a potential downside of 1.27% from the company’s current price.

DRI has been the topic of several other reports. Zacks Investment Research cut Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday. Raymond James Financial Inc. raised Darden Restaurants from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 18th. RBC Capital Markets reaffirmed a “sector perform” rating and issued a $70.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, October 12th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $70.00 target price on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Friday, October 7th. Finally, SunTrust Banks Inc. reduced their target price on Darden Restaurants from $70.00 to $67.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $70.63.

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

Shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) opened at 74.95 on Monday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $66.24 and a 200-day moving average price of $64.18. The firm has a market cap of $9.22 billion, a PE ratio of 24.20 and a beta of 0.23. Darden Restaurants has a 52 week low of $55.01 and a 52 week high of $74.99.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted 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. The business had revenue of $1.71 billion for the quarter. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 24.97% and a net margin of 5.73%. Darden Restaurants’s revenue was up 1.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.68 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that Darden Restaurants will post $3.93 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, October 10th were given a dividend of $0.56 per share. This represents a $2.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.99%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, October 5th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is presently 72.03%.

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In other news, SVP Danielle L. Kirgan sold 28,127 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction 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 transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 15,989 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $998,832.83. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, SVP Danielle L. Kirgan sold 8,780 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.47, for a total value of $548,486.60. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 15,989 shares in the company, valued at $998,832.83. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.69% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of DRI. Schroder Investment Management Group increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 291.5% in the second quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 1,725,904 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $109,319,000 after buying an additional 1,285,004 shares during the last quarter. WBI Investments Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the second quarter worth $57,165,000. Numeric Investors LLC raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 228.9% in the second quarter. Numeric Investors LLC now owns 1,272,100 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $80,575,000 after buying an additional 885,300 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the second quarter worth $53,974,000. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.3% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 12,676,075 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $802,903,000 after buying an additional 640,845 shares during the period. 88.85% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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