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Is Darden Restaurants (DRI) A Buy Ahead of Q1 Earnings Announcement?

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Casual dining chain Darden Restaurants (DRI - Free Report) is set to report fiscal first-quarter earnings results on Thursday before the bell. The Orlando, Florida-based company’s portfolio is comprised of casual restaurants such as Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, as well as fine dining establishments like The Capital Grille and Seasons 52. A Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, Darden Restaurants has exceeded the earnings mark in each of the past four quarters. But given general market weakness as of late, is DRI a buy?

Darden Restaurants is expected to post a profit of $1.73/share, which would reflect growth of 10.9% versus the same quarter last year. Revenues are projected to have increased 10.5% to $2.7 billion during the quarter.

DRI stock has risen more than 12% this year. The company has exceeded earnings estimates in each of the last four quarters, boasting an average earnings beat of 3.56% over that timeframe. Caution is warranted amid this market pullback despite the impressive track record.

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