Stock Traders Purchase Large Volume of Darden Restaurants Call Options (NYSE:DRI)


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Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) was the target of some unusual options trading on Wednesday. Stock traders bought 24,014 call options on the company. This is an increase of 1,004% compared to the average daily volume of 2,176 call options.

In other Darden Restaurants news, COO Ricardo Cardenas sold 1,200 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, April 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $147.04, for a total value of $176,448.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 48,169 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,082,769.76. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Susan M. Connelly sold 7,783 shares of Darden Restaurants stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $144.83, for a total transaction of $1,127,211.89. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 10,143 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,469,010.69. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 134,254 shares of company stock valued at $18,225,231 over the last three months. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Truist Financial Corp lifted its position in Darden Restaurants by 40.8% during the fourth quarter. Truist Financial Corp now owns 78,293 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $9,326,000 after purchasing an additional 22,675 shares during the last quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL increased its holdings in shares of Darden Restaurants by 13.1% in the 4th quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 4,850 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $578,000 after buying an additional 560 shares during the last quarter. Conning Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 4th quarter valued at $234,000. ExodusPoint Capital Management LP bought a new stake in shares of Darden Restaurants during the 3rd quarter worth $1,333,000. Finally, Boston Partners grew its position in Darden Restaurants by 1.4% in the fourth quarter. Boston Partners now owns 768,899 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $91,591,000 after acquiring an additional 10,498 shares in the last quarter. 89.35% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Darden Restaurants stock opened at $145.75 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38, a quick ratio of 0.59 and a current ratio of 0.72. Darden Restaurants has a fifty-two week low of $56.51 and a fifty-two week high of $149.73. The stock has a market cap of $19.00 billion, a P/E ratio of -151.82, a PEG ratio of 2.31 and a beta of 1.48. The firm’s fifty day moving average price is $140.09 and its 200-day moving average price is $122.37.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, March 24th. The restaurant operator reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.29. Darden Restaurants had a positive return on equity of 10.47% and a negative net margin of 1.70%. The business had revenue of $1.73 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.60 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.90 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 26.1% on a year-over-year basis. Sell-side analysts predict that Darden Restaurants will post 3.3 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, May 3rd. Stockholders of record on Friday, April 9th will be issued a dividend of $0.88 per share. This is a positive change from Darden Restaurants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, April 8th. This represents a $3.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.42%. Darden Restaurants’s payout ratio is presently 47.28%.

Several brokerages have recently issued reports on DRI. Stephens raised their target price on Darden Restaurants from $155.00 to $170.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 31st. KeyCorp lifted their price objective on shares of Darden Restaurants from $130.00 to $165.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 1st. Truist increased their target price on shares of Darden Restaurants from $150.00 to $158.00 in a research report on Friday, March 26th. Oppenheimer upped their price objective on Darden Restaurants from $140.00 to $165.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, March 22nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets raised their target price on Darden Restaurants from $115.00 to $140.00 in a research report on Friday, March 26th. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-one have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $138.06.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates full-service restaurants in the United States and Canada. As of May 31, 2020, it owned and operated approximately 1,804 restaurants, which included 868 under the Olive Garden, 522 under the LongHorn Steakhouse, 165 under the Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, 81 under the Yard House, 60 under The Capital Grille, 44 under the Seasons 52, 41 under the Bahama Breeze, and 23 under the Eddie V's Prime Seafood brands.

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