D.A. Davidson & CO. Grows Stock Holdings in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)

D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRIFree Report) by 13.5% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 2,117 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after buying an additional 251 shares during the period. D.A. Davidson & CO.’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $348,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Balentine LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants in the fourth quarter worth about $284,000. Coldstream Capital Management Inc. increased its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 2.9% during the fourth quarter. Coldstream Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,874 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $472,000 after buying an additional 82 shares during the last quarter. BI Asset Management Fondsmaeglerselskab A S raised its position in Darden Restaurants by 62.6% in the fourth quarter. BI Asset Management Fondsmaeglerselskab A S now owns 2,255 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $370,000 after acquiring an additional 868 shares during the period. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd purchased a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 4th quarter worth $5,353,000. Finally, Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 4th quarter valued at $58,601,000. 93.64% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Darden Restaurants Price Performance

NYSE DRI opened at $148.05 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $17.67 billion, a PE ratio of 17.36, a P/E/G ratio of 1.63 and a beta of 1.27. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 52-week low of $133.36 and a 52-week high of $176.84. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a quick ratio of 0.25 and a current ratio of 0.39. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $154.26 and its 200-day moving average price is $160.28.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRIGet Free Report) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 21st. The restaurant operator reported $2.62 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.63 by ($0.01). Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 49.94% and a net margin of 9.24%. The company had revenue of $2.97 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.02 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $2.34 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 8.85 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Darden Restaurants declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, March 21st that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the restaurant operator to purchase up to 5% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

Darden Restaurants Announces Dividend

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, April 10th were paid a $1.31 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, April 9th. This represents a $5.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.54%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 61.43%.

Insider Transactions at Darden Restaurants

In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Melvin John Martin sold 7,673 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $165.52, for a total value of $1,270,034.96. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 17,208 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,848,268.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. In other Darden Restaurants news, insider Melvin John Martin sold 7,673 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $165.52, for a total value of $1,270,034.96. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 17,208 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,848,268.16. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director William S. Simon sold 1,219 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Monday, April 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $158.21, for a total transaction of $192,857.99. Following the sale, the director now owns 6,281 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $993,717.01. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 13,599 shares of company stock valued at $2,197,891. Corporate insiders own 0.85% of the company’s stock.

Wall Street Analysts Forecast Growth

A number of analysts have commented on DRI shares. BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on Darden Restaurants from $160.00 to $165.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Thursday, March 7th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their price target on Darden Restaurants from $176.00 to $165.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday. Wedbush dropped their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $187.00 to $181.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, March 22nd. Bank of America upped their price target on Darden Restaurants from $193.00 to $198.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, March 18th. Finally, Guggenheim raised their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $180.00 to $185.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 19th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat, the stock currently has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and a consensus target price of $177.95.

Check Out Our Latest Research Report on DRI

Darden Restaurants Profile

(Free Report)

Darden Restaurants, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. It operates under Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, Eddie V's Prime Seafood, and Capital Burger brand names.

Further Reading

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)

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