Darden Restaurants Inc. Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) will unveil its latest earnings on Friday, March 23, 2012. Darden Restaurants operates a full-service dining restaurant industry in the United States.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of $1.24 per share, a rise of 14.8% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from $1.19. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It has risen during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting net income of $3.60 per share, a rise of 5.6% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company fell short of estimates by 0 cents, coming in at profit of 41 cents per share against a mean estimate of net income of 42 cents. The company fell in line with expectations in the first quarter.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts predict a rise of 8.1% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $2.14 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are optimistic about this stock, with 18 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and nine rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit fell 27.9% to $53.7 million (40 cents a share) from $74.5 million (53 cents a share) the year earlier, missing analyst expectations. Revenue rose 6.1% to $1.83 billion from $1.73 billion.

Key Stats:

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue rose 7.5% in the first quarter from the year earlier, climbed 6.8% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter and 5.5% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

In each of the last two quarters, the company’s net income has fallen. Net income dropped 5.7% in the first quarter.

Stock Price Performance: Between December 20, 2011 and March 19, 2012, the stock price rose $9.03 (20.8%), from $43.51 to $52.54. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between October 3, 2011 and October 13, 2011, when shares rose for nine straight days, increasing 13.5% (+$5.51) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between November 15, 2011 and November 25, 2011 when shares fell for eight straight days, dropping 7.2% (-$3.45) over that span.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com