NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Darden Restaurants(DRI) - Get Report stock is increasing 2.59% to $66.25 in pre-market trading Wednesday morning after the restaurant operator issued fiscal 2016 third quarter earnings guidance above estimates.

The company expects to report earnings of $1.18 to $1.21 per share for the quarter, while analysts had estimated earnings of $1.06 per share.

Comparable restaurant sales are expected to increase 6% for the quarter ended February 28.

Additionally, Darden appointed Ricardo Cardenas as CFO, effective immediately. He had been chief strategy officer.

The company will release its full fiscal 2016 third quarter financial report on April 5 before the market open.

Orlando, FL-based Darden Restaurants owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants under several brands, including Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Season 52 and The Capital Grille.

Separately, Darden Restaurants has a "buy" rating and a letter grade of B+ at TheStreet Ratings because of the company's solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, revenue growth and reasonable valuation levels.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: DRI

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this article's author.

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