Equities research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) will post earnings per share of $0.91 for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Nine analysts have issued estimates for Darden Restaurants’ earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $0.87 and the highest estimate coming in at $0.95. Darden Restaurants reported earnings of $0.73 per share in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 24.7%. The firm is scheduled to announce its next quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, December 18th.

On average, analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will report full year earnings of $5.62 per share for the current financial year, with EPS estimates ranging from $5.58 to $5.75. For the next year, analysts anticipate that the firm will report earnings of $6.21 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $5.96 to $6.45. Zacks’ EPS calculations are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow Darden Restaurants.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, September 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.10. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 7.84% and a return on equity of 30.32%. The firm had revenue of $2.06 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.03 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.99 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year.

DRI has been the topic of several research reports. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated an “overweight” rating and issued a $120.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Monday, July 23rd. Gordon Haskett initiated coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Thursday, October 18th. They issued an “underperform” rating and a $94.00 price target on the stock. Robert W. Baird downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, September 10th. SunTrust Banks increased their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants to $137.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, September 21st. Finally, Loop Capital initiated coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Wednesday, October 24th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $130.00 price target on the stock. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and seventeen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $119.04.

In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 60,688 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.63, for a total value of $6,835,289.44. Following the sale, the insider now owns 147,561 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,619,795.43. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, COO David C. George sold 55,671 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $108.24, for a total value of $6,025,829.04. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 95,236 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,308,344.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.65% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in DRI. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. purchased a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $149,000. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 171.8% in the 3rd quarter. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd now owns 1,571 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $175,000 after purchasing an additional 993 shares during the last quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 537.3% in the 3rd quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 1,625 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $181,000 after purchasing an additional 1,370 shares during the last quarter. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 92.9% in the 2nd quarter. Moneta Group Investment Advisors LLC now owns 1,640 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $176,000 after purchasing an additional 790 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Dumont & Blake Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Darden Restaurants in the 3rd quarter valued at $203,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 88.72% of the company’s stock.

Shares of DRI traded down $0.34 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $112.05. 2,065,469 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,531,432. Darden Restaurants has a 1-year low of $79.18 and a 1-year high of $124.00. The company has a quick ratio of 0.26, a current ratio of 0.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41. The company has a market cap of $13.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.30, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.14 and a beta of 0.17.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 10th were given a $0.75 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, October 9th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.68%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 26.20%.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

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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Earnings History and Estimates for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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