$1.36 Earnings Per Share Expected for Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) This Quarter

Equities analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) will post earnings per share of $1.36 for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Eleven analysts have provided estimates for Darden Restaurants’ earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $1.45 and the lowest is $1.25. Darden Restaurants posted earnings of $1.34 per share in the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 1.5%. The business is expected to issue its next earnings results on Thursday, September 19th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Darden Restaurants will report full-year earnings of $6.39 per share for the current financial year, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.30 to $6.50. For the next fiscal year, analysts forecast that the firm will post earnings of $6.84 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.74 to $7.02. Zacks’ EPS averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow Darden Restaurants.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 20th. The restaurant operator reported $1.76 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.73 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 31.61% and a net margin of 8.38%. The company had revenue of $2.23 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.24 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.39 EPS. Darden Restaurants’s quarterly revenue was up 4.5% compared to the same quarter last year.

A number of analysts have weighed in on the company. Maxim Group lowered Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $126.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, July 16th. MKM Partners assumed coverage on Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, August 13th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $120.00 target price on the stock. UBS Group assumed coverage on Darden Restaurants in a research note on Friday, April 26th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $133.00 target price on the stock. KeyCorp assumed coverage on Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, July 23rd. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $140.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co reduced their target price on Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $117.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, June 11th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and sixteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $130.76.

In related news, CFO Ricardo Cardenas sold 14,128 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $124.87, for a total transaction of $1,764,163.36. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 23,848 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,977,899.76. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP John W. Madonna sold 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $124.12, for a total value of $124,120.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 8,726 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,083,071.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 96,907 shares of company stock worth $11,975,585 in the last three months. Corporate insiders own 0.47% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Penserra Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the first quarter valued at about $40,000. NuWave Investment Management LLC raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 34.5% in the second quarter. NuWave Investment Management LLC now owns 351 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $43,000 after buying an additional 90 shares during the last quarter. Coastal Investment Advisors Inc. raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 115.6% in the second quarter. Coastal Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 373 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $45,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Gables Capital Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants in the first quarter valued at about $50,000. Finally, Motco raised its stake in Darden Restaurants by 125.5% in the second quarter. Motco now owns 451 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $55,000 after buying an additional 251 shares during the last quarter. 91.67% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

DRI stock traded up $1.69 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $121.22. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 36,973 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,022,544. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39, a quick ratio of 0.46 and a current ratio of 0.61. The stock has a fifty day simple moving average of $122.13 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $117.82. Darden Restaurants has a 1 year low of $95.83 and a 1 year high of $126.75. The firm has a market capitalization of $14.72 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.81, a PEG ratio of 1.85 and a beta of 0.32.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, August 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, July 10th were given a dividend of $0.88 per share. This is an increase from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.75. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, July 9th. This represents a $3.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.90%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 60.48%.

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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