McDonald's Beats Q3 Earnings Forecast as US Sales Impress

McDonald's, which updated investors on U.S. same-store sales last month, topped analysts' forecasts with third quarter earnings of $2.35 per share.

McDonald's Corp.  (MCD) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Monday as U.S. sales growth offset international weakness and restaurant closures triggered by the resurgence in global coronavirus infections. 

McDonald's said diluted earnings for the three months ending in September came in at $2.35 per share, up 11.4% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.90 per share. Group revenues, McDonalds said, fell 2% to $5.42 billion, just ahead of analysts' forecasts of a $5.39 billion tally.

System-wide sales around the world, McDonald's said, were down 1% from last year on a constant currency basis and management told investors a conference call that followed its earnings release that it sees 'mid-single digit' growth in 2021 and 2022. For the current year, McDonald's said, digital sales are expected to pass $10 billion, or more than fifth of total system-wide sales. 

"The resilience of the McDonald's system was on display during the third quarter as the competitive strength of our business and the 3 D's – Digital, Delivery and Drive Thru – led to significant global comparable sales recovery," said CFO Kevin Ozan. "Our franchisees and restaurant teams around the world remain focused on running great restaurants and continuing to provide a safe environment for customers to enjoy our great tasting food."  

McDonald's shares were marked 1% higher in early trading immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $218.44 each, a move that extends the stock's six-month gain to around 20%.

Last month, McDonald's told investors that comparable sales in its U.S. stores rose 4.6% over the third quarter, nearly double the Street consensus forecast. International comparable sales fell 4.4%, the group said, but that figure was also well ahead of analysts' forecasts. McDonald's reiterated those figures again Monday.

Shares were also boosted by the broader market gains triggered by Pfizer Inc.  (PFE) - Get Report, which reported a 90% efficacy rate in late-stage trials of its developing coronavirus vaccine.