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McDonald’s Earnings Foreshadow More Weakening

Paul Ausick

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) reported third-quarter 2013 results before markets opened Monday morning. The fast-food restaurant chain posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.52 on revenues of $7.32 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.43 on revenues of $7.15 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.51 EPS and $7.34 billion in revenues.

Globally, same-store sales in the second quarter rose 0.9% and consolidated net income rose 2%. Same-store sales rose 0.7% in the United States, were up 0.2% in Europe and fell by 1.4% in Asia. Sequentially, U.S. same-store sales were off by 0.1% and Asian sales were off by 1.1%. Europe grew sales by 0.3%.

McDonald's increased its dividend by 5% in mid-September to a quarterly total of $0.81, effective in the fourth quarter.

The company's CEO said:

While we are focused on strengthening our near-term performance, the current environment continues to pressure results. Around the world, we remain confident in our ability to drive sustained, long-term profitable growth through our global growth priorities -- optimizing the menu, modernizing the customer experience and broadening accessibility.

McDonald's did not offer guidance in its earnings press release. The company did say that it expects fourth-quarter sales to be "in-line with recent quarterly trends while restaurant margin percentages are expected to decline at a level relatively similar to first quarter results." The company expects October same-store sales to be flat with last year.

The consensus estimates for the second quarter calls for EPS of $1.45 on revenues of $7.2 billion. The current full-year forecast calls for EPS of $5.60 on revenues of $28.23 billion.

McDonald's shares were down 1.7% in premarket trading Monday morning, at $93.57 in a 52-week range of $83.31 to $103.70. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $105.10 before this report.