Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) SVP Sarah H. King Sells 3,000 Shares

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) SVP Sarah H. King sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $158.00, for a total value of $474,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website.

Shares of NYSE:DRI traded down $3.94 during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $155.87. 1,339,881 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,550,603. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $89.34 and a fifty-two week high of $164.28. The company has a quick ratio of 0.91, a current ratio of 1.01 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33. The stock has a fifty day simple moving average of $146.82 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $143.56. The firm has a market cap of $20.31 billion, a PE ratio of 33.50, a P/E/G ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 1.54.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, September 22nd. The restaurant operator reported $1.76 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.65 by $0.11. The business had revenue of $2.31 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.24 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 8.74% and a return on equity of 22.25%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 51.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.56 earnings per share. As a group, analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 7.41 earnings per share for the current year.

Darden Restaurants declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Thursday, September 23rd that permits the company to repurchase $750.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the restaurant operator to buy up to 3.6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 1st. Investors of record on Friday, October 8th will be given a $1.10 dividend. This represents a $4.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.82%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 7th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 102.09%.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in DRI. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 40.6% during the 1st quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 18,733 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,660,000 after buying an additional 5,411 shares during the last quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.6% during the 1st quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. now owns 8,669 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,231,000 after buying an additional 138 shares during the last quarter. Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd Zurich acquired a new stake in Darden Restaurants in the 1st quarter worth about $124,000. MAI Capital Management acquired a new stake in Darden Restaurants in the 1st quarter worth about $237,000. Finally, Rafferty Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in Darden Restaurants in the 1st quarter worth about $909,000. 87.38% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of research firms have recently issued reports on DRI. UBS Group increased their price target on Darden Restaurants from $165.00 to $178.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday. Truist lifted their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $167.00 to $180.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $157.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, August 31st. Royal Bank of Canada upped their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $165.00 to $176.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday. Finally, BTIG Research reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Sunday, June 27th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-two have given a buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat, Darden Restaurants has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $167.13.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company, which engages in the provision of restaurant services. It operates through the following segments: Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining, and Other Business. The Olive Garden segment is the largest full-service dining Italian restaurant operator.

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