McDonald’s Comparable Sales Save Q3 Earnings

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McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) reported its third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday. Despite ranking as one of the strongest Dow stocks in 2017, McDonald’s just met expectations for this quarter. This was still a positive, but considering the year that the stock has seen so far, investors were most likely looking for more.

The company said that it had $1.76 in earnings per share (EPS) and $5.75 billion in revenue, while the consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters were $1.77 in EPS on revenue of $5.74 billion. In the same period of last year, McDonald’s posted EPS of $1.62 and $6.42 billion in revenue.

Global comparable sales increased 6.0%, reflecting positive guest counts in all segments. In terms of the breakdown, U.S. comparable sales increased 4.1%, International Lead segment increased 5.7%, High Growth segment comparable sales increased 6.2%, and Foundational markets comparable sales rose 10.2%.

Looking at the top line, we can see that revenues dropped off about 10% from last year, or 12% in constant currency. While this would normally weigh heavier on most companies, this drop is the result of McDonald’s strategic refranchising initiative. However, systemwide sales actually increased by 7% in constant currencies as the result of strong comparable sales.

The Golden Arches did not issue any guidance for the fourth quarter, but the consensus estimates call for $1.61 in EPS and $5.74 billion in revenue.

Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s president and CEO, commented:

We are serving more customers, more often by offering great tasting food at a good value with the quick service and friendly hospitality they expect from McDonald’s. Our positive comparable sales and guest counts across all of our operating segments during the third quarter demonstrate broad-based momentum throughout our business that builds upon our strong first half of 2017.

Shares of McDonalds closed Monday at $163.34, with a consensus analyst price target of $173.62 and a 52-week trading range of $110.83 to $167.90. Following the release, the stock was up 0.5% at $164.10 in early indications Tuesday.