Darden Stock on the Rise After Earnings Beat

Darden's sales were at roughly 82% of last year's levels

Deputy Editor
Sep 24, 2020 at 9:18 AM
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Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) stock is on the rise this morning, following the Olive Garden parent's fiscal first-quarter earnings of 56 cents per share, which exceeded Wall Street's estimates of 5 cents per share. Revenue, meanwhile, missed analysts' estimates, with sales at roughly 82% of the prior year's levels. At last check DRI is up 3.3% at $93.01.

While Darden stock has made a valiant effort to separate itself from its mid-March trough, it still has quite a ways to go before reclaiming its pre-pandemic levels. The stock seems to have plateaued just below the 320-day moving average, too, though former pressure at the 180-day moving average seems to have moved in as support in the past month. For the year DRI is still down about 17%. 

Analysts have remained mum this morning, but optimism prevails among the brokerage bunch. Fifteen in coverage consider DRI a "buy" or better, compared to nine "hold" ratings. The consensus 12-month price target of $92.67, meanwhile, is a 3% premium to last night's close. 

The options pits tell a different story. This is per Darden's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.74 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio stands in the slightly elevated 68th percentile of its annual range, suggesting a healthier-than-usual appetite for long puts of late. 

Echoing this, DRI's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.68 stands higher than 92% of readings from the past year. This implies short-term option traders have rarely been more put-biased. 



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