Assenagon Asset Management S.A. Increases Stake in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)

Assenagon Asset Management S.A. raised its stake in Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) by 16.3% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 4,444 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after buying an additional 622 shares during the period. Assenagon Asset Management S.A.’s holdings in Darden Restaurants were worth $402,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of DRI. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 4.6% in the first quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 1,625 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 71 shares in the last quarter. Ledyard National Bank increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 399.4% in the first quarter. Ledyard National Bank now owns 1,638 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $137,000 after buying an additional 1,310 shares in the last quarter. First Manhattan Co. increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 2.8% in the first quarter. First Manhattan Co. now owns 2,754 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $168,000 after buying an additional 75 shares in the last quarter. MEMBERS Trust Co acquired a new position in Darden Restaurants during the first quarter valued at $201,000. Finally, Whittier Trust Co. increased its position in Darden Restaurants by 5.0% in the first quarter. Whittier Trust Co. now owns 2,477 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $207,000 after buying an additional 117 shares in the last quarter. 96.55% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) traded down 0.66% on Friday, hitting $88.98. 172,824 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $90.28 and a 200 day moving average price of $81.99. The firm has a market cap of $11.12 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.40 and a beta of 0.28. Darden Restaurants, Inc. has a 52-week low of $59.50 and a 52-week high of $95.22.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, June 27th. The restaurant operator reported $1.18 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.03. Darden Restaurants had a net margin of 6.68% and a return on equity of 26.18%. The firm had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.86 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.10 earnings per share. Darden Restaurants’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that Darden Restaurants, Inc. will post $4.47 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Investors of record on Monday, July 10th will be issued a $0.63 dividend. This is a positive change from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, July 6th. This represents a $2.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.81%. Darden Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 66.14%.

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Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. Robert W. Baird reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $94.00 price target (up from $90.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $80.00 to $81.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 30th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Darden Restaurants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 28th. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “sector perform” rating and issued a $96.00 price target (up from $86.00) on shares of Darden Restaurants in a research note on Tuesday, June 27th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG raised their price target on shares of Darden Restaurants from $84.00 to $94.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. Darden Restaurants currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $84.78.

In related news, insider Eugene I. Lee, Jr. sold 93,125 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $91.58, for a total value of $8,528,387.50. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 165,062 shares in the company, valued at $15,116,377.96. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Company insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.

Darden Restaurants Company Profile

Darden Restaurants, Inc is a full-service restaurant company. The Company owned and operated 1,536 restaurants through its subsidiaries in the United States and Canada, as of May 29, 2016. The Company’s segments include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining (which includes The Capital Grille, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille (Eddie V’s)) and Other Business (which includes Yard House, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, consumer-packaged goods and franchise revenues).

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

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