Darden Restaurants Inc. said Friday it had net earnings of $133.8 million, or $1.05 a share, in its fiscal third quarter, up from $109.7 million, or 82 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted EPS came to 99 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 84 cents. Sales rose to $1.73 billion from $1.62 billion, compared with the FactSet consensus of $1.724 billion. Same-restaurant sales rose 3.6%, compared with a FactSet consensus of 2.4%. Looking ahead, the operator of Red Lobster restaurants said it expects fourth-quarter EPS of 91 cents to 94 cents, ahead of the current FactSet consensus of 89 cents. Shares rose 5% in premarket trade, and are up 13% in the last three months, while the S&P 500 is up about 1%.
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