Darden Restaurants Raises Dividend By 12.5%

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. said Tuesday it has raised its quarterly dividend by 12.5% to 63 cents a share from 56 cents a share. The new dividend will be payable Aug. 1 to shareholders of record on July 10. Based on Monday's stock closing price of $90.08, the new annual dividend rate of $2.52 a share implies a dividend yield of 2.80%, compared with the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 1.99%. Earlier, Darden reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit, revenue and same-store sales that beat expectations. The stock rallied 2.6% in premarket trade. It has run up 23.9% year to date through Monday, while the SPDR Consumer Discretionary Select Sector ETF has rallied 10.4% and the S&P 500 has gained 8.9%.

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