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Darden Restaurants Gaps Out On Earnings, Raised Guidance

Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants (DRI) reported fiscal first-quarter results that topped Wall Street estimates Thursday. DRI stock jumped early.




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Darden reported earnings of $1.76 per share with sales soaring 51% to $2.3 billion. Same-store sales jumped to 47.5%. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting EPS of $1.65 on sales of $2.2 billion.

The company declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $1.10 per share, payable on Nov. 1.

Darden now sees full-year earnings from continuing operations of $7.25 to $7.60 per share. That’s up from an earlier outlook of $7.00 to $7.50 per share.

Looking ahead, Darden sees total sales of between $9.4 billion and $9.6 billion, with same-store sales of 27% to 30% vs. prior estimates of total sales of $9.2 billion and $9.5 billion, with same-store sales of 25% to 29%.

DRI Stock Breaks Out After Long Consolidation

Shares jumped 6.1% to 159.59 on the stock market today. Darden stock popped above a flat base and is actionable from that earnings gap up, according to MarketSmith analysis. The stock had been hovering around its buy point for several weeks before Darden’s strong earnings report pushed the stock higher and into range.

Fast food and fast-casual takeout spots have done well earlier this year with sit-down restaurants like Olive Garden facing more headwinds amid the delta variant. But Covid-19 cases are falling in the U.S. as vaccination rates climb.

Take-out spots Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and McDonald‘s (MCD) are also flashing potential buying opportunities for investors.

Chipotle stock is in buy range after bouncing off its 10-week line. On Thursday, CRM stock edged up 0.4%, clearing weeks of tight action to a new high. Chipotle is the top-ranked stock in IBD’s Retail-Restaurants group.

MCD stock rose 0.7% to 244.77. McDonald’s is consolidating in a flat base with a 247.15 entry point.

Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter for investing news and more.

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