Hennion & Walsh Asset Management Inc. Lowers Stock Holdings in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)

Hennion & Walsh Asset Management Inc. lessened its position in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRIFree Report) by 3.0% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 8,850 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after selling 276 shares during the quarter. Hennion & Walsh Asset Management Inc.’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $1,479,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of DRI. FMR LLC boosted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 3.6% in the third quarter. FMR LLC now owns 164,249 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $23,524,000 after purchasing an additional 5,703 shares during the period. LPL Financial LLC boosted its position in Darden Restaurants by 4.9% in the 3rd quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 54,829 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $7,853,000 after buying an additional 2,552 shares during the period. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC grew its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 11.3% in the third quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 5,407 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $774,000 after acquiring an additional 548 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia increased its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 14.2% during the third quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 14,799 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,120,000 after acquiring an additional 1,845 shares during the period. Finally, Ancora Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants by 324.2% in the third quarter. Ancora Advisors LLC now owns 280 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $40,000 after acquiring an additional 214 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 93.64% of the company’s stock.

Insider Transactions at Darden Restaurants

In related news, SVP Matthew R. Broad sold 4,707 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $156.15, for a total transaction of $734,998.05. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 19,179 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,994,800.85. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. In other Darden Restaurants news, Director William S. Simon sold 1,219 shares of the 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 owns 6,281 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $993,717.01. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Matthew R. Broad sold 4,707 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $156.15, for a total value of $734,998.05. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 19,179 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,994,800.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.85% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants Price Performance

Shares of NYSE DRI opened at $151.32 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 0.24 and a current ratio of 0.38. The company’s fifty day moving average is $150.63 and its two-hundred day moving average is $159.35. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a one year low of $133.36 and a one year high of $176.84. The firm has a market capitalization of $18.06 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.76, a PEG ratio of 1.73 and a beta of 1.29.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRIGet Free Report) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, June 20th. The restaurant operator reported $2.65 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.61 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $3 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.97 billion. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 49.82% and a net margin of 9.02%. Darden Restaurants’s revenue was up 8.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $2.58 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 9.5 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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

Darden Restaurants Cuts Dividend

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, July 10th will be given a dividend of $1.29 per share. This represents a $5.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.41%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, July 10th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 61.50%.

Wall Street Analyst Weigh In

Several equities research analysts have weighed in on DRI shares. Oppenheimer cut their price target on Darden Restaurants from $186.00 to $182.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, March 22nd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $176.00 to $165.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, May 28th. Morgan Stanley reiterated an “overweight” rating and issued a $175.00 price target on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Friday, June 21st. Evercore ISI lowered their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $170.00 to $165.00 and set an “in-line” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, June 13th. Finally, KeyCorp reduced their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $177.00 to $170.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, June 13th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, Darden Restaurants presently has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and a consensus target price of $174.24.

View Our Latest Stock Report on DRI

About Darden Restaurants

(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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