It's a light day for scheduled news with no major earnings reports and trade balance and wholesale inventories data for April.
Dow component McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) is slated to report its monthly sales figures on Friday. After being the best performer among the blue chips in 2011, the hamburger purveyor has been a laggard since the calendar turned over, falling 12% year-to-date.
On Thursday the stock ticked 28 cents lower to close at $88.38, putting it down 13.5% since hitting a 52-week high of $102.22 on Jan. 20. Deutsche Bank sees opportunity in the weakness, reiterating its buy rating and $100 price target on Thursday.
"MCD's has one of the most stable business models in the world, with the majority of earnings coming from rent+royalty payments generated by a healthy franchisee base (~75%)," the firm said. "We believe the market is undervaluing the predictability of these cash flows, as well as MCD's track record for managing through difficult macro environments, incl. Europe."Among the potential positive catalysts that Deutsche Bank sees for McDonald's shares in the second half of 2012 and into 2013 are the London Olympics, the potential for a dividend increase and an improving margin outlook. "We see a favorable risk-reward in MCD's shares, with ~20% upside to ~5% downside," the firm said. "The upside case assumes MCD just hits consensus forecasts for 2013 and returns to a more reasonable valuation (17x P/E). The downside case of ~5% is based on ~$6.00 in earnings in 2013 and the 2-yr trough multiple of 14x. (If we were to instead use the 5-yr trough multiple (~13x), we would see about 10% downside, still 2-to-1 upside-to-downside.)" Check out TheStreet's quote page for McDonald's for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more. And finally, shares of Francesca's Holdings (FRAN - Get Report) surged in late trades on Thursday after the Houston-based specialty apparel retailer reported better-than-expected quarterly results and gave a solid outlook. The company forecast earnings of 22 to 23 cents a share for its fiscal second quarter ending in July on sales of between $69 million and $71 million, hinting at upside to the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for a profit of 22 cents a share on sales of $68.6 million. The stock was last quoted at $25.54, up 14.5%, on volume of nearly 140,000, according to Nasdaq.com. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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