Darden 4Q net earnings rise 19 percent

Darden Restaurants Inc. reported a 19-percent increase in net earnings for the fourth quarter Thursday and projected that fiscal 2012 would be “somewhat stronger," than 2011 as the economy continued to recover gradually.

For the fourth quarter ended May 29, the parent of such casual-dining chains as Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse chains generated net earnings of $138 million, or $1 per diluted share, compared with $116 million, or 81 cents per diluted s

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