Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) during the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund purchased 6,698 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock, valued at approximately $730,000.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of the company. Gradient Investments LLC grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 4.3% during the fourth quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 81,695 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $8,906,000 after acquiring an additional 3,387 shares in the last quarter. GW&K Investment Management LLC grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 0.3% during the third quarter. GW&K Investment Management LLC now owns 157,798 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $18,655,000 after acquiring an additional 417 shares in the last quarter. BB&T Securities LLC grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 2.4% during the third quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 16,151 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,906,000 after acquiring an additional 380 shares in the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC grew its stake in Darden Restaurants by 4.0% during the third quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 330,191 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $39,035,000 after acquiring an additional 12,846 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Alpine Global Management LLC purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $848,000. 90.04% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Several equities analysts recently commented on the stock. Evercore ISI reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $135.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Sunday, December 22nd. KeyCorp reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and set a $135.00 price objective (down previously from $140.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Monday, December 23rd. Royal Bank of Canada assumed coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, December 10th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $135.00 price objective for the company. Wedbush reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $125.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, December 4th. Finally, Citigroup reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $130.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, December 31st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $127.62.
Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, December 19th. The restaurant operator reported $1.12 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $2.06 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.06 billion. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 7.23% and a return on equity of 32.25%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.92 EPS. On average, research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 6.38 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, February 3rd. Stockholders of record on Friday, January 10th were issued a $0.88 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, January 9th. This represents a $3.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.89%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 60.48%.
In other news, SVP Douglas J. Milanes sold 791 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $113.32, for a total value of $89,636.12. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 6,002 shares in the company, valued at approximately $680,146.64. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Charles M. Sonsteby acquired 1,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 31st. The stock was acquired at an average price of $112.26 per share, with a total value of $168,390.00. Insiders own 0.47% of the company’s stock.
About Darden Restaurants
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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