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said worldwide same-store sales jumped a better-than-expected 5.3% in March, paced by solid domestic results.

The burger chain said the March performance lifted first-quarter comps to plus-5.2% and should allow it to match the Thomson First Call earnings consensus of 49 cents a share. Analysts had been looking for a same-store sales gain of about 3.5% last month.

In March, U.S. same-store sales rose 6.6%, "driven by breakfast and the convenience of our extended operating hours," McDonald's said. "The launch of our new Premium Roast Coffee encouraged more customers to enjoy the new coffee blend along with our popular breakfast menu."

European same-store sales rose 1.6% in March, while Asia-Pacific comps were up 5%, led by growth in Australia and China. The company said bad weather, the shift in Easter to April, and school-related holidays restrained results in Europe.

"We remain focused on driving momentum across Europe by enhancing the customer experience and providing relevant menu options."

The stock rose 20 cents, or 0.6%, to $35.39 early Thursday.