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Here is an important fact about McDonald's ( MCD), the largest quick casual restaurant in the world: The stock has not declined in a calendar year since 2002. Since 1980, McDonald's has only declined in four calendar years: 1990, 2000, 2001 and 2002. The compounded annual price return for McDonald's stock is 15.3% since 1980. This does not factor in the annual dividend, which the company has consistently paid.

2012 will be an average year whereby I expect the company's earnings to increase by 8% to 10%, the shares to rise about 10% and the dividend to add about another 3% to total return.

Let me be very clear, after it rose in price by 31% in 2011, we should not expect as big of a year from McDonald's stock in 2012. However, given the nature of McDonald's business, its history, large stock repurchase program and strong dividend, the downside to the stock price is limited.

McDonald's, one of Renaissance Technologie's top holdings, shows up on a recent list of 5 Stocks to Safely Make Money in Emerging Markets and was one of 3 Top Dividend Stocks for 2012.

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