BlackRock Inc. Sells 485,737 Shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)

BlackRock Inc. lowered its holdings in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 5.4% in the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 8,525,043 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after selling 485,737 shares during the quarter. BlackRock Inc. owned approximately 6.57% of Darden Restaurants worth $1,291,288,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other large investors have also bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 14,134,516 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $2,063,499,000 after purchasing an additional 197,779 shares in the last quarter. Capital International Investors raised its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 11.9% in the 2nd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 11,932,101 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,741,960,000 after purchasing an additional 1,265,636 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.8% in the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 5,388,302 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $786,638,000 after purchasing an additional 94,934 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 5.5% in the 2nd quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 2,304,952 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $335,595,000 after purchasing an additional 119,711 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Allianz Asset Management GmbH raised its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 12.3% in the 2nd quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 1,112,268 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $162,380,000 after purchasing an additional 121,818 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 89.13% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NYSE DRI opened at $143.00 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 0.85, a quick ratio of 0.72 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 12 month low of $110.89 and a 12 month high of $164.28. The company has a 50 day simple moving average of $146.91 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $147.34. The stock has a market cap of $18.26 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.46, a PEG ratio of 1.91 and a beta of 1.46.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Friday, December 17th. The restaurant operator reported $1.48 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.43 by $0.05. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 10.73% and a return on equity of 30.83%. The business had revenue of $2.27 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.23 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.74 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 37.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 7.57 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, February 1st. Investors of record on Monday, January 10th will be paid a $1.10 dividend. This represents a $4.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.08%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, January 7th. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio is currently 62.95%.

Darden Restaurants declared that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, September 23rd that authorizes the company to buyback $750.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the restaurant operator to purchase up to 3.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

DRI has been the subject of several recent research reports. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $167.00 to $171.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 24th. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $165.00 to $176.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, September 24th. Piper Sandler lifted their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $157.00 to $168.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 24th. Stifel Nicolaus raised shares of Darden Restaurants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $165.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, December 21st. Finally, Wedbush cut their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $162.00 to $150.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, December 20th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to data from MarketBeat.com, Darden Restaurants presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $167.00.

In other Darden Restaurants news, Director M Shan Atkins sold 3,123 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $151.11, for a total transaction of $471,916.53. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 76,725 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $152.38, for a total transaction of $11,691,355.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.95% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company, which engages in the provision of restaurant services. It operates through the following segments: Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining, and Other Business. The Olive Garden segment is the largest full-service dining Italian restaurant operator.

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

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