Shares of McDonald's Corp. (MCD) rose slightly Wednesday after the company reported earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations for the fourth quarter and global comparable-store beat estimates. The stock gained 0.2% to close at $181.77.
The Chicago-based fast food giant reported adjusted earnings of $1.97 a share, a 15% increase over the same period last year. Analysts expected $1.89 a share. Revenue in the quarter rose $5.163 billion vs. estimates of $5.162 billion.
The company reported global comps of 4.4%, beating Wall Street expectations of a 3.9% increase, even though U.S. comps rose just 2.3%, below forecast of 2.5%. International comps jumped 5.2%.
"Our performance in 2018 was strong, driven by the Velocity Growth Plan with broad-based momentum across each of our global segments. We continued to transform our business by making substantial progress on modernizing our restaurants and offering more convenience, choice and value to our customers," said McDonald's President and CEO Steve Easterbrook. "We've now achieved 14 consecutive quarters of positive global comparable sales and our customers rewarded us with more visits in 2018, helping us to achieve two consecutive years of global guest count growth for the first time since 2012."
Separately, the company announced that its board approved a quarterly cash dividend of $1.16 a share, payable March 15 to shareholders of record on March 1.
"As we begin 2019, we have confidence in our plan and the continued growth opportunities from delivery, Experience of the Future and digital. We remain committed to running great restaurants, which will continue to make a difference for our customers and drive long-term sustainable growth," Easterbrook said.