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McDonald’s U.S. Comps Fall, But Earnings Still Beat Estimates

From McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) early Monday posted market-beating fourth quarter earnings results, as comparable sales lagged in the U.S. but surged in international segments.

The Oak Brook, IL-based fast food giant reported Q4 EPS of $1.44, which was $0.03 better than the Wall Street consensus estimate of $1.41. Revenues fell 4.9% from last year to $6.03 billion, but still narrowly topped analysts’ view for $6 billion.

On a positive note, MCD noted that global comparable sales in the fourth quarter jumped 2.7%, versus estimates around 1.5%. Comparable sales, also known as same-store sales or simply “comps” are considered an important measure of a restaurant’s health, since they only compare sales in established locations.

However, U.S. comparable sales fell 1.3% in the latest period, hurt by difficult comparisons to the launch last year of the company’s highly successful All-Day Breakfast. International Lead comps rose 2.8%, while High Growth segment comps surged 4.7%, led by strong performance in China.

The company commented via press release:

“Our refranchising efforts and financial discipline will enable us to direct our capital and G&A resources towards new strategic opportunities to deliver on our long-term strategy. We look forward to providing further details on our strategy and financial targets later this quarter. As we begin the first quarter of 2017, we are mindful of the comparison we face against first quarter 2016 results, which benefited from leap year, favourable weather and continued momentum from All-Day Breakfast in the U.S.”

McDonald’s Corporation shares were mostly flat in premarket trading Monday. Year-to-date, MCD has gained 0.44%, versus a 1.44% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

MCD currently has a POWR Rating of A (Strong Buy), and is ranked #1 of 54 stocks in the Restaurants category.

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