Darden Restaurants (DRI) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Monday, May 28th.

According to Zacks, “Darden’s shares outpaced its industry in the last six months. Most of its brands have witnessed growth over the past few quarters, given various sales initiatives like simplifying kitchen systems, operational excellence, menu innovation along with technology-driven moves. The acquisition of Cheddar's has added value to Darden's portfolio of differentiated brands. Further, the company’s efforts to check costs are commendable. Backed by these efforts, Darden’s third-quarter fiscal 2018 earnings topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the 14th consecutive quarter. Yet, rising labor costs and a non-franchised business model are likely to dampen the company’s profits while a soft industry backdrop might pressurize comps. However current-year estimates have moved northward over the past two months, reflecting analysts’ optimism surrounding the stock.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on DRI. Stifel Nicolaus cut their target price on Darden Restaurants from $105.00 to $100.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, March 23rd. ValuEngine lowered Darden Restaurants from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 22nd. BMO Capital Markets cut their target price on Darden Restaurants from $99.00 to $97.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, March 22nd. Mizuho assumed coverage on Darden Restaurants in a research report on Thursday, March 15th. They set a buy rating and a $105.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Barclays cut their target price on Darden Restaurants from $116.00 to $105.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, March 23rd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company. Darden Restaurants has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $98.30.

Shares of DRI stock traded down $0.19 on Monday, hitting $92.19. The company had a trading volume of 1,679,265 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,541,755. The stock has a market cap of $11.40 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.93, a PEG ratio of 1.58 and a beta of 0.20. The company has a current ratio of 0.39, a quick ratio of 0.25 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44. Darden Restaurants has a twelve month low of $76.27 and a twelve month high of $100.11.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, March 22nd. The restaurant operator reported $1.71 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.64 by $0.07. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 28.12% and a net margin of 6.92%. The company had revenue of $2.13 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.15 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.32 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.3% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants will post 4.77 earnings per share for the current year.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Jacobi Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 79.3% in the first quarter. Jacobi Capital Management LLC now owns 1,585 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $133,000 after purchasing an additional 701 shares in the last quarter. Trilogy Capital Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the first quarter valued at approximately $140,000. TLP Group LLC increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 761.3% during the first quarter. TLP Group LLC now owns 2,093 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $178,000 after acquiring an additional 1,850 shares during the last quarter. Ostrum Asset Management purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the first quarter valued at approximately $180,000. Finally, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $200,000. Institutional investors own 89.53% of the company’s stock.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. As of June 27, 2017, it owned and operated approximately 1,700 restaurants under the Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, and Eddie V's brands.

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Analyst Recommendations for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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