Darden Restaurants Stock Brushes Off Strong Results

Darden Restaurants reported strong fiscal fourth-quarter results and an upbeat full-year forecast

Darden Restaurants Inc (NYSE:DRI) announced fiscal fourth-quarter profits of $2.27 per share on revenue of $2.60 billion before the bell this morning, just higher than the $2.21 and $2.54 billion anticipated by analysts. A 35% jump in same-store sales in its fine-dining segment gave revenue a boost, and the Olive Garden parent put forth an upbeat full-year forecast as well. At last check, DRI was reversing its earlier gains, down 0.4% to trade at $114.69.

Ahead of today, Darden Restaurants stock had been inching higher since its recent June 16, roughly 17-month low of $110.96. However, several short- and long-term moving averages linger above as walls of potential pressure, including the 40-day trendline. Year-to-date, DRI is down 23.8%. 

Bears have been firmly in control in the options pits. DRI’s 50-day put/call volume ratio of 6.26 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) sits higher than 98% of all other readings from the past year, showing puts being picked up at a much faster-than-usual rate. 

Options traders appear to be keeping with that sentiment today, with puts outweighing calls by more than 3 to 1, as overall option volume runs at five times the intraday average. The July 100 and 110 puts are the most popular, with new positions opening at the 80 put in the same monthly series. 

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