Eagle Asset Management Inc. Buys Shares of 7,658 Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)

Eagle Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRIFree Report) during the 4th quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor acquired 7,658 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock, valued at approximately $1,258,000.

Several other large investors have also modified their holdings of DRI. Boulder Hill Capital Management LP acquired a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the 4th quarter worth approximately $2,497,000. Bank of Nova Scotia increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 22.8% during the 4th quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 18,170 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,985,000 after purchasing an additional 3,371 shares in the last quarter. TFO Wealth Partners LLC increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 21,366.7% during the 4th quarter. TFO Wealth Partners LLC now owns 644 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $106,000 after purchasing an additional 641 shares in the last quarter. Focus Financial Network Inc. ADV acquired a new stake in Darden Restaurants during the 4th quarter worth approximately $848,000. Finally, Stifel Financial Corp increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 1.4% during the 4th quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 88,176 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $14,488,000 after purchasing an additional 1,178 shares in the last quarter. 93.64% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Darden Restaurants Stock Performance

Shares of DRI opened at $150.61 on Thursday. The business’s fifty day moving average price is $153.13 and its 200 day moving average price is $160.20. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 12-month low of $133.36 and a 12-month high of $176.84. The stock has a market capitalization of $17.98 billion, a PE ratio of 17.66, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.54 and a beta of 1.29. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a current ratio of 0.39 and a quick ratio of 0.25.

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

Darden Restaurants Announces Dividend

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, April 10th were paid a dividend of $1.31 per share. This represents a $5.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.48%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, April 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 61.43%.

Darden Restaurants announced that its board has initiated a share repurchase plan on Thursday, March 21st that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the restaurant operator to repurchase up to 5% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

Analysts Set New Price Targets

Several analysts have issued reports on DRI shares. Morgan Stanley lowered their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $184.00 to $180.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. Stephens started coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Friday, April 12th. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $170.00 price objective for the company. Guggenheim increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $180.00 to $185.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 19th. Stifel Nicolaus increased their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $185.00 to $190.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 19th. Finally, Oppenheimer lowered their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $186.00 to $182.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat, Darden Restaurants presently has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $177.90.

Check Out Our Latest Analysis on Darden Restaurants

Insider Buying and Selling

In related news, Director William S. Simon sold 1,219 shares of the firm’s 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 transaction, the director now directly owns 6,281 shares in the company, valued at $993,717.01. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. In other Darden Restaurants news, Director William S. Simon sold 1,219 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $158.21, for a total value of $192,857.99. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 6,281 shares in the company, valued at $993,717.01. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, 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 sale, the insider now owns 17,208 shares in the company, valued at $2,848,268.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 13,599 shares of company stock worth $2,197,891 over the last ninety days. 0.85% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Darden Restaurants Company 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.

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

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