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Sales Beef Up McDonald's Shares

Editor's Note: In this feature from Stockpickr, we highlight lists of stocks that have been upgraded by analysts or are experiencing activist investor situations or some other market-moving events.

Rumors of the Day: Now that BEA Systems (BEAS), a stock holding of activist investor Carl Icahn, has received a $17-a-share bid from Oracle (ORCL), StreetInsider.com reports that Icahn may next turn his attentions to Biogen Idec (BIIB), where his Icahn Management hedge fund already owns a roughly 1% stake. BEA shares rocketed 38% to $18.80 on news of the $6.6 billion offer, while Biogen shares were gaining 2.6% to $68.88.

Today's Hot List: General Electric (GE) reported third-quarter earnings of 50 cents a share, which was in-line with estimates, and revenue of $42.5 billion, slightly above the consensus estimate of $42.4 billion. The company narrowed its 2007 earnings-per-share guidance to $2.19-$2.22, vs. prior guidance of $2.18-$2.23. Analysts are looking for $2.20. GE shares sunk 2.2% to $40.69.

McDonald's (MCD) said third-quarter earnings should exceed analysts' estimates as global comparable sales rose 5.9% in September and U.S. same-store sales are up 3.5%. Europe comparable sales rose 5.7% last month, while Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa comparable sales rose 12%. The restaurant chain expects third-quarter earnings will be 89 cents a share, including 83 cents from continuing operations and an after-tax gain of 6 cents from the sale of Boston Market. Analysts are looking for earnings of 77 cents before the gain. Shares of McDonald's gained 70 cents, or 1.2%, to $56.95.

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