Darden Restaurants' Stock Rises After Beating Profit, Sales Expectations

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Darden Restaurants' stock rose 1.3% in after-hours trade Tuesday, after the casual-dining restaurant chain reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter profit and sales. For the quarter ended Nov. 23, the net loss was $32.8 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with a profit of $19.8 million, or 15 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding non-recurring items, such as asset impairment charges and severance costs, the adjusted per-share profit was 28 cents, topping the FactSet consensus analyst estimate of 27 cents. Total sales rose 4.9% to $1.56 billion, beating analyst forecasts of $1.55 billion. Among some of the company's restaurant brands, same-store sales rose 0.5% at Olive Garden, 2.6% at LongHorn Steakhouse and 5% at The Capital Grille, but declined 0.6% at Bahama Breeze. The company adjusted its 2014 earnings-per-share outlook to a range of $2.25 to $2.30 from $2.22 to $2.30. The stock has gained 2.8% this year through Tuesday's close, while the S&P 500 has advanced 6.7%.

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