Darden sees Q3 EPS 82, consensus 93c The company estimates that lower sales and higher direct costs associated with more severe winter weather than last year adversely affected diluted net earnings per share for this year's third quarter by approximately 7c. The Company also estimates that legal, financial advisory and other costs associated with implementation of the strategic action plan it announced in December 2013 reduced diluted net earnings per share for the third quarter by approximately 6c. Darden expects U.S. same-restaurant sales for the third quarter to increase 0.3% at LongHorn Steakhouse, decline 5.4% at Olive Garden and decline 8.8% at Red Lobster. The Company estimates that blended U.S. same-restaurant sales for the third quarter for its Specialty Restaurant Group will be down approximately 0.7%.
On The Fly: Analyst Downgrade Summary Today's noteworthy downgrades include: Abbott (ABT) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair... Chuy's (CHUY) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James... Cypress Semiconductor (CY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee CRT... Darden (DRI) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James... Dominion (D) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS... Ensco (ESV) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citi... First Financial (FFIN) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Sandler O'Neill... Global Partners (GLP) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Mitsubishi UFJ... Investors Bancorp (ISBC) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Compass Point... NetScout (NTCT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham... Precision Castparts (PCP) downgraded to Sell from Buy at Gabelli... Spirit AeroSystems (SPR) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman... Synaptics (SYNA) downgraded to Buy from Strong Buy at Needham... Terex (TEX) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Avondale... UniCredit (UNCFF) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Berenberg... United Rentals (URI) downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna... Xcel Energy (XEL) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.