Earnings Preview: McDonald's could report higher Q4 EPS and sales, analyst says

theflyonthewall.com

Fast food giant McDonald's (MCD) is scheduled to report Q4 before the market open on Wednesday, January 23, with a conference call scheduled for 11:00 am ET... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of $1.33 on revenue of $6.89B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is $1.29-$1.42 on revenue of $6.69B-$7.14B... LAST QUARTER: McDonald's reported Q3 EPS of $1.43, including 8c per share of negative currency impact, against estimates for $1.48 on revenue of $7.15B against estimates for $7.15B. During its Q3 earnings call, McDonald's said that the current operating environment is "the new normal" and that the environment would likely remain challenging for the next few quarters. The company said total cash returned to shareholders would be at least $5.5B in 2012. McDonald's also forecast 2012 U.S. commodity cost increases of 3.5%-4.5%, with 2013 commodity cost increases less than 2012; the company said Q4 commodity cost increases would be slightly higher than Q3. The company forecast foreign currency impacting FY12 EPS by 17c-19c and 1c-2c in Q4... STREET RESEARCH: UBS recently raised its price target on McDonald's to $100 from $96 and said U.S. fast food industry trends seem to have stabilized. The firm raised estimates to reflect higher December U.S. same-store-sales estimates. Wells Fargo predicted that McDonald's margins will increase in 2013, driven partly by improving SSS. The firm believes the company will report higher than expected Q4 EPS and sales. During the quarter, shares were downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James... PRICE ACTION: Over the last three months, McDonald's shares rose almost 5%.

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