Darden Restaurants Inc Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (DRI)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A-. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • DRI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.5%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC's earnings per share declined by 18.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.59 versus $3.42 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 12.3% in earnings ($3.15 versus $3.59).
  • In its most recent trading session, DRI has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. owns and operates full service restaurants in the United States and Canada. It operates restaurants under the Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Eddie V's Prime Seafood, and Wildfish Seafood Grille brand names. Darden has a market cap of $6.3 billion and is part of the services sector and leisure industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.00, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 18.00. Shares are up 8.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full Darden Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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