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Why Darden Restaurants Stock Popped Tuesday

By Daniel Sparks - Updated Dec 18, 2018 at 9:15PM

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Here's why Darden's second-quarter update impressed.

What happened

Shares of restaurant operator Darden Restaurants (DRI 2.08%) jumped on Tuesday, rising as much as 6.3%. The stock finished the trading day up about 5%.

The stock's gain comes after the company's second-quarter results for its fiscal 2019. Investors' upbeat response to the report is likely related to management's decision to raise its outlook for full-year same-restaurant sales growth and earnings per share.

A chart showing a stock price moving higher.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Darden reported net sales of $1.97 billion, up 4.9% year over year. Earnings per share for the period was $0.92, up nearly 30% year over year.

Growth was driven by a combination of 40 net new restaurants and growth in same-restaurant sales. Same-restaurant sales for the period increased 2.1% year over year.

"We had another quarter of strong and steady performance by continuing to focus on being brilliant with the basics in our restaurants," said Darden CEO Gene Lee in the company's second-quarter earnings release. "We continued to grow market share profitably by strengthening and leveraging our competitive advantages, and our brands are making the appropriate investments while managing costs effectively."

Now what

Management boosted its outlook for full-year fiscal 2018 same-restaurant sales growth. Previously, management had expected 2% to 2.5% growth. But now Darden is guiding for 2.5% growth in the key metric.

Management also said it now expects earnings per share from continuing operations to be between $5.60 and $5.70, up from previous guidance for $5.52 to $5.65.

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Darden Restaurants, Inc. Stock Quote
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