Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) was downgraded by equities researchers at BidaskClub from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Sunday.

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Thursday, March 23rd. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. upped their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Monday, June 26th. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $102.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday, June 9th. Maxim Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $80.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Thursday, March 23rd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $74.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, March 29th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Darden Restaurants currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $84.78.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) traded up 0.43% during trading on Friday, hitting $88.95. 1,181,434 shares of the stock traded hands. Darden Restaurants has a 12 month low of $59.50 and a 12 month high of $95.22. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $89.37 and a 200 day moving average price of $80.52. The firm has a market cap of $11.12 billion, a PE ratio of 23.39 and a beta of 0.28.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, June 27th. The restaurant operator reported $1.18 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.68% and a return on equity of 26.18%. The firm had revenue of $1.94 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.86 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.10 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post $4.47 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 10th will be paid a $0.63 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 6th. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.83%. This is a positive change from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 66.14%.

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In other news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 93,125 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $91.58, for a total value of $8,528,387.50. Following the sale, the insider now owns 165,062 shares in the company, valued at $15,116,377.96. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.68% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. American International Group Inc. raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 1.3% in the first quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 6,198,698 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $518,645,000 after buying an additional 77,248 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 4,601.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,464,253 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $959,215,000 after buying an additional 11,220,403 shares in the last quarter. Karp Capital Management Corp purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the first quarter valued at approximately $11,342,000. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 3.6% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 14,211,162 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,189,048,000 after buying an additional 487,366 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 982.1% in the first quarter. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. now owns 449,559 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $37,613,000 after buying an additional 408,013 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 96.58% of the company’s stock.

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).

Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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