McDonald's Supersizes Quarter

The company sees earnings of 46 cents a share before items.
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(MCD) - Get Report

previewed a better-than-expected first quarter Wednesday, saying U.S. same-store sales continued to be juiced by the hamburger chain's menu renovations.

McDonald's expects to earn 56 cents a share in the quarter, including a gain of 13 cents a share from a tax benefit and a charge of 3 cents a share from stock-based compensation. Backing out the items, the company's expected earnings of 46 cents a share would be 4 cents above the consensus forecast compiled by Thomson First Call.

For March, McDonald's global and U.S. same-store sales both rose 6.8% from a year ago, while overall sales jumped 11.2%. For the quarter, global same-store sales rose 4.6%, while overall sales rose 8% from a year earlier.

European same-store sales rose 6.6% in march, while Asia-Pacific comps rose 7.3% in the month.

"We delivered solid global results for the first three months of 2005 with first quarter comparable sales up 4.6% against last year's outstanding comparable sales performance," the company said. "Our performance in the U.S. continues to be driven by multiple initiatives that are delivering variety, value, choice and convenience to our customers."

The stock added $1.02, or 3.3%, to $31.92 in premarket Instinet trading.