Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. Has $7.27 Million Stake in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI)

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Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. lifted its position in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 47.3% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 72,768 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after buying an additional 23,363 shares during the period. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. owned approximately 0.06% of Darden Restaurants worth $7,267,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Hartford Investment Management Co. grew its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 0.6% in the 4th quarter. Hartford Investment Management Co. now owns 20,754 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,072,000 after buying an additional 117 shares during the last quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 2.3% in the 4th quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. now owns 6,592 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $658,000 after buying an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. Simmons Bank grew its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 1.2% in the 4th quarter. Simmons Bank now owns 13,240 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,322,000 after buying an additional 157 shares during the last quarter. Fulton Bank N.A. grew its position in shares of Darden Restaurants by 2.2% in the 4th quarter. Fulton Bank N.A. now owns 8,236 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $823,000 after buying an additional 179 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Contravisory Investment Management Inc. grew its position in Darden Restaurants by 7.0% during the 4th quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 2,932 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $293,000 after purchasing an additional 192 shares during the last quarter. 93.49% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of NYSE DRI opened at $111.73 on Tuesday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 0.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 12 month low of $82.38 and a 12 month high of $124.00. The company has a market cap of $13.85 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.23, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.29.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, December 18th. The restaurant operator reported $0.92 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.01. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 8.12% and a return on equity of 30.48%. The business had revenue of $1.97 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.98 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.73 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post 5.69 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Thursday, January 10th were paid a dividend of $0.75 per share. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.69%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, January 9th. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is 13.10%.

In related news, Director William S. Simon sold 1,565 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 1st. The shares were 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 directly owns 10,248 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,075,015.20. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Insiders own 0.65% of the company’s stock.

Several analysts have weighed in on DRI shares. Loop Capital started coverage on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research report on Wednesday, October 24th. They set a “buy” rating and a $130.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, November 16th. Barclays dropped their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $133.00 to $129.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, November 29th. Wells Fargo & Co boosted their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $108.00 to $109.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 6th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 11th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and twenty have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $121.35.

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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.

Further Reading: Stock Symbol

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

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