Darden The restaurant company reported on March 23 third-quarter earnings of $164.1 million, or $1.28 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $151.2 million, or $1.11. "Despite heavy advertising and the price point, 2-year comps trends only improved 110bps from Jan to Feb (promotion launched in the last week of Jan) and two-year traffic trends actually slowed by 100bps," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a March 23 report. "The improvement came from an additional 80bps of price and a much less negative mix shift, with a mix-shift from lunch to dinner likely driving much of the mix benefit." Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.4% Rated "A+ (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's third-quarter gross profit margin was basically the same as it was a year ago. Darden Restaurants has very weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.08, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs. In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 7.65% from the prior year. TheStreet Ratings' price target is $58.56.
OGE Energy The energy company reported on Feb. 16 fourth-quarter earnings of $36.4 million, or 37 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $30.7 million, or 32 cents. "OGE reported 2011 EPS of $3.45 versus $3.10 a year ago," Wunderlich Securities analysts wrote in a Feb. 17 report. "The 2011 results included $0.30 from hot weather (versus normal), while 2010 had a $0.15 benefit. Assuming normal weather in 2012, lower weather-related sales will be a headwind. However, higher utility revenues from the rate case along with higher transmission earnings should offset this. With gathering volume growth in 2012, Enogex results should increase with a full year of operation at the Cox City and South Canadian plants." Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.9% Rated "A (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's fourth-quarter gross profit margin was basically the same as it was last year. OGE Energy has very weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.33, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs. In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 11.95% from the prior year. TheStreet Ratings' price target is $68.87.