McDonald's ( MCD) posted a solid rise in fourth-quarter profits, topping analysts' expectations for the period, but a significant sales slowdown for December sent shares of the fast-food giant sliding Monday.For the fourth quarter, McDonald's reported net income of $1.27 billion, or $1.06 a share. A year earlier, the company earned$1.24 billion, or $1 a share, including a 40-cent-a-share one-time gain. The latest quarter included 33 cents a share in one-time items, mainly tied to tax benefits. Excluding these gains, earnings were 73 cents a share, beating analysts' mean estimate by 2 cents.
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