Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) Shares Acquired by Fulton Bank N.A.

Fulton Bank N.A. lifted its stake in shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRIFree Report) by 2.8% during the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 24,828 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after acquiring an additional 687 shares during the period. Fulton Bank N.A.’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $4,150,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other large investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in DRI. Aviva PLC lifted its position in Darden Restaurants by 589.4% during the third quarter. Aviva PLC now owns 32,283 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $4,624,000 after buying an additional 27,600 shares during the period. Kestra Advisory Services LLC lifted its position in Darden Restaurants by 27.2% during the third quarter. Kestra Advisory Services LLC now owns 13,285 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,903,000 after buying an additional 2,839 shares during the period. Rafferty Asset Management LLC lifted its position in Darden Restaurants by 6.4% during the third quarter. Rafferty Asset Management LLC now owns 9,878 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,415,000 after buying an additional 598 shares during the period. Envestnet Portfolio Solutions Inc. purchased a new position in Darden Restaurants during the third quarter worth about $4,956,000. Finally, Envestnet Asset Management Inc. lifted its position in Darden Restaurants by 23.4% during the third quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 408,280 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $58,474,000 after buying an additional 77,326 shares during the period. 93.64% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Darden Restaurants Stock Performance

DRI stock traded up $2.33 during trading on Thursday, reaching $154.29. 2,727,277 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,189,096. The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 0.39 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 1-year low of $133.36 and a 1-year high of $176.84. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $150.70 and its 200-day moving average price is $159.73. The firm has a market cap of $18.42 billion, a PE ratio of 17.81, a P/E/G ratio of 1.60 and a beta of 1.29.

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 for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $2.63 by ($0.01). Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 9.24% and a return on equity of 49.94%. The firm had revenue of $2.97 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.02 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $2.34 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 6.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts expect that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 8.85 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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

Darden Restaurants Cuts Dividend

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, July 11th will be given a $1.29 dividend. This represents a $5.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.34%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 61.43%.

Insider Activity 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 value of $734,998.05. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 19,179 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,994,800.85. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. In other 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 transaction of $1,270,034.96. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 17,208 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,848,268.16. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, SVP Matthew R. Broad sold 4,707 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred 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 in the company, valued at approximately $2,994,800.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 13,599 shares of company stock worth $2,197,891 in the last quarter. 0.85% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades

Several equities analysts recently weighed in on the company. Stifel Nicolaus increased their target price on Darden Restaurants from $185.00 to $190.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 19th. Stephens restated an “equal weight” rating and issued a $165.00 price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants in a report on Thursday. BTIG Research upgraded Darden Restaurants from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $175.00 target price on the stock in a report on Friday, May 17th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped their target price on Darden Restaurants from $176.00 to $165.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, May 28th. Finally, Guggenheim raised their target price on Darden Restaurants from $180.00 to $185.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, March 19th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat, Darden Restaurants presently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $173.81.

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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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