McDonald’s Q4 Earnings Leave Investors Hungry

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McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) reported its fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday. The fast-food chain said that it had $1.71 in earnings per share (EPS) and $5.34 billion in revenue. That compares with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $1.59 in EPS on revenue of $5.23 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.43 and $6.03 billion in revenue.

During the quarter, global comparable sales increased 5.5%, reflecting positive guest counts in all segments. Also, systemwide sales increased 8% in constant currencies.

Looking ahead, the company plans to invest about $2.4 billion of capital, the majority of which will be dedicated to reinvesting in existing locations through accelerated deployment of the Experience of the Future initiative in the United States. The development plans also include the opening of about 1,000 new McDonald’s restaurants, 75% of which will be funded by the expanded network of developmental licensees and affiliates around the world.

At the same time, McDonald’s plans to continue making meaningful investments in technology to modernize the customer experience and redefine convenience.

McDonald’s did not mention any guidance for the coming first quarter, but the consensus estimates call for $1.62 in EPS and $4.89 billion in revenue.

Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s president and chief executive, commented:

2017 was a strong year for McDonald’s as customers responded to the many ways we are making their experience more convenient and enjoyable. We served more customers more often, achieved our best comparable sales performance in six years, gained share in markets around the world and made tremendous progress with growth platforms such as delivery, mobile order and pay and Experience of the Future.

Shares of McDonald’s closed Monday at $177.77, with a consensus analyst price target of $186.57 and a 52-week range of $121.70 to $178.70. Following the announcement, the stock was down about 1% to $176.08 in early trading indications Tuesday.