Why Darden Restaurants (DRI) Stock Is Up Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc.  (DRI) are up 3.98% to $50.11.

The restaurant company has 60 days to call a shareholder meeting to vote on activist investor Starboard Value LP's proposal to delay the company's plan to spin off its struggling Red Lobster chain, according to CNBC, Reuters reports.

The special meeting has to be called as Starboard got consent from 54% of the shareholders, sources told CNBC.

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TheStreet Ratings team rates DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC (DRI) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. Among the primary strengths of the company is its reasonable valuation levels, considering its current price compared to earnings, book value and other measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 3.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.1%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $363.70 million or 13.87% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -31.16%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: DRI Ratings Report

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