Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor purchased 2,455 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock, valued at approximately $245,000.
Other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its position in Darden Restaurants by 14,173.2% during the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,131,508 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $41,000 after buying an additional 4,102,562 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc raised its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.2% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 13,687,194 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,521,879,000 after acquiring an additional 673,563 shares during the period. Bessemer Group Inc. raised its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 95.6% in the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 971,586 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $97,023,000 after buying an additional 474,864 shares during the period. Ackerman Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Darden Restaurants in the 4th quarter valued at about $4,000,000. Finally, Acadian Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in Darden Restaurants by 61.7% in the 4th quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 695,255 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $69,427,000 after buying an additional 265,278 shares during the period. 91.29% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Several analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Citigroup boosted their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $120.00 to $146.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 3rd. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on Darden Restaurants from $112.00 to $121.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. Bank of America set a $130.00 target price on Darden Restaurants and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. Wells Fargo & Co boosted their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $110.00 to $120.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. Finally, Loop Capital boosted their price objective on Darden Restaurants to $140.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, March 22nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $128.13.
Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 21st. The restaurant operator reported $1.80 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.75 by $0.05. Darden Restaurants had a return on equity of 30.28% and a net margin of 8.08%. The firm had revenue of $2.25 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.24 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.71 earnings per share. Darden Restaurants’s quarterly revenue was up 5.5% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 5.78 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, April 10th will be issued a $0.75 dividend. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.54%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 9th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 62.37%.
In related news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 73,152 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $118.61, for a total transaction of $8,676,558.72. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 190,025 shares in the company, valued at $22,538,865.25. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director William S. Simon sold 1,565 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.90, for a total value of $164,168.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 10,248 shares in the company, valued at $1,075,015.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 75,047 shares of company stock worth $8,879,918 in the last three months. 0.65% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
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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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