Here's Why Darden Restaurants (DRI) is a Strong Growth Stock

For new and old investors, taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals. Zacks Premium provides lots of different ways to do both.

The popular research service can help you become a smarter, more self-assured investor, giving you access to daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank, the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research reports, and Premium stock screens.

Zacks Premium also includes the Zacks Style Scores.

What are the Zacks Style Scores?

The Zacks Style Scores is a unique set of guidelines that rates stocks based on three popular investing types, and were developed as complementary indicators for the Zacks Rank. This combination helps investors choose securities with the highest chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.

Each stock is given an alphabetic rating of A, B, C, D or F based on their value, growth, and momentum qualities. With this system, an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on, meaning the better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform.

The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:

Value Score

Value investors love finding good stocks at good prices, especially before the broader market catches on to a stock's true value. Utilizing ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and many other multiples, the Value Style Score identifies the most attractive and most discounted stocks.

Growth Score

While good value is important, growth investors are more focused on a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score takes projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow into account to uncover stocks that will see long-term, sustainable growth.

Momentum Score

Momentum traders and investors live by the saying "the trend is your friend." This investing style is all about taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Employing factors like one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, the Momentum Style Score can indicate favorable times to build a position in high-momentum stocks.

VGM Score

If you like to use all three kinds of investing, then the VGM Score is for you. It's a combination of all Style Scores, and is an important indicator to use with the Zacks Rank. The VGM Score rates each stock on their shared weighted styles, narrowing down the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum.

How Style Scores Work with the Zacks Rank

A proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank utilizes the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings outlook, to help investors create a successful portfolio.

Investors can count on the Zacks Rank's success, with #1 (Strong Buy) stocks producing an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988, more than double the S&P 500's performance. But the model rates a large number of stocks, and there are over 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, plus another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.

This totals more than 800 top-rated stocks, and it can be overwhelming to try and pick the best stocks for you and your portfolio.

That's where the Style Scores come in.

You want to make sure you're buying stocks with the highest likelihood of success, and to do that, you'll need to pick stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you like a stock that only as a #3 (Hold) rank, it should also have Scores of A or B to guarantee as much upside potential as possible.

As mentioned above, the Scores are designed to work with the Zacks Rank, so any change to a company's earnings outlook should be a deciding factor when picking which stocks to buy.

Here's an example: a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one with Style Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings outlook, and a bigger chance its share price will decrease too.

Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.

Stock to Watch: Darden Restaurants (DRI)

Founded in 1968 and based in Orlando, FL, Darden Restaurants is one of the largest casual dining restaurant operators worldwide. The company has operations in the United States and Canada with more than 1,914 restaurants.

DRI is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.

Additionally, the company could be a top pick for growth investors. DRI has a Growth Style Score of A, forecasting year-over-year earnings growth of 9.6% for the current fiscal year.

Three analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2024. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.02 to $8.77 per share. DRI boasts an average earnings surprise of 4.3%.

With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Growth and VGM Style Scores, DRI should be on investors' short list.

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Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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