What 2017 Has in Store for McDonald’s

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed out 2016 at 19,762.60 on December 30. It may not have hit the elusive 20,000 mark, but it ended the year with a gain of 13.4% from the 17,425.03 close on the last trading day of 2015. This was quite close to the 24/7 Wall St. forecast of 19,700, but we still have a case that can be made for up to Dow 22,000 late in 2017. The S&P 500 closed the year at 2,238.83, up 9.5% from the 2,043.94 close of 2015. The Nasdaq closed at 5,383.12, for a gain of just 7.5% from the 5,007.41 close at the end of 2015.

One industry that has had an up-and-down year is the restaurant business. The fourth quarter brought cold, snowy weather to large areas of the country, and that does not encourage people to leave their homes and go out to eat. Additionally, shopper traffic was down until the very end of the holiday shopping season — if Americans are not out there shopping they’re not going to be eating at restaurants either.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) generated a 6% return in 2016 and closed at $121.72 on the last day of the year. Had it not been for a return of 6.3% in the last quarter of the year, this stock would have closed out flat, with no significant return.

With a consensus analyst price target from Thomson Reuters of $127.96, there is just 5.1% in implied upside. If you add in the 3.1% dividend yield, the total return expectation would be closer to 8.2% in 2017, if the analysts prove to be right.

McDonald’s performed well enough in the third-quarter to make our preliminary list of the Dogs of the Dow, but the company did not make the final cut as the Trump rally pushed the other stocks higher in the fourth quarter.

The company has begun introducing self-service kiosks in its 14,000 U.S. stores. McDonald’s insists that the move is not an effort to cut jobs but is instead a response to the popularity of the giant screens with younger customers.

Worker demands for a pay hike to $15 an hour continue and the company remains a main target of worker demonstrations seeking higher wages.

Looking ahead, quick-service restaurants like McDonald’s could see a 1% increase in traffic this year, and same-store sales comparisons will benefit from the weak showing in 2016, according to retail analysts at The NPD Group.

McDonald’s has a 52-week range of $110.33 to $131.96 and a market cap of $102 billion. Its dividend yield is 3.1%.