UPDATE 6-McDonald's 2nd-quarter profit falls, shares slide

Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:17pm EDT

* Q2 earnings $1.32/shr misses Street view by 5 cents
    * Sees July same-restaurant sales below Q2 levels
    * Shares down almost 3 percent


    By Lisa Baertlein
    July 23 (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp reported
lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Monday, hurt by a
weakening global economy and the impact of a stronger dollar,
and said sales growth at  established restaurants would slow
this month.    
    The rare profit miss from the world's biggest hamburger
chain showed the sluggish U.S. economy and Europe's belt
tightening are pinching even the most resilient restaurant
operators, as diners limit spending for meals away from home. 
    "We're seeing more markets that are having consumer
confidence issues ... It's a little more than a European cold,
if you would," McDonald's Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson
said on a conference call with analysts. 
    Shares in McDonald's, which has stepped up advertising for
its low-priced food to keep customers coming through its doors,
fell $2.64, or 2.9 percent, to close at $88.94 on the New York
Stock Exchange. The stock hit all-time highs of over $100
earlier this year as it outperformed rivals and consolidated
market share.  
    McDonald's results came days after Chipotle Mexican Grill
Inc, one of the best-performing restaurant chains,
surprised investors by saying the lethargic U.S. recovery had
cooled same-restaurant sales growth, adding to concerns about
how much consumers were cutting back on discretionary spending.
    
    
  
    
    "We knew it was going to be a tough quarter going in, and it
certainly was," Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo said. 
    "This year is going to be a challenge for the chain. Europe
(its biggest market for sales) has slowed down, and the consumer
remains pretty frugal," Russo said.
    Closely watched global sales at restaurants open at least 13
months decelerated during the month of June -- increasing 4.4
percent versus 7.7 percent a year earlier. 
    Net income fell 4.5 percent to $1.35 billion, or $1.32 per
share, for the second quarter. The impact of the stronger dollar
-- which lessens the value of sales overseas for U.S. companies
-- cut 7 cents a share from earnings in the latest quarter, the
company said. Higher taxes and costs related to a large sales
meeting and its Olympics sponsorship also weighed on profits.
    Earnings per share missed analysts' average estimate by 5
cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It has been at
least four years since McDonald's earnings missed Wall Street's
quarterly EPS estimate, analysts said. 
    Total revenue edged up to $6.92 billion, from $6.91 billion
a year earlier.  
    Overall sales at established restaurants rose 3.7 percent in
the second quarter, exceeding the 2.9 percent increase expected
by analysts polled by Consensus Metrix.    
    Advertising helped the company beat sales expectations for
Europe in the quarter, when U.S. restaurant margins took a hit
as McDonald's competitors put more focus on lower-cost value
menus, analysts said.
    "You are starting to see signs that consumers are spending
less at restaurants," said Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy.
"You are also seeing increased competition."
    To that end, McDonald's said it expects same-restaurant
sales to rise in July, but less than they did in the second
quarter.
    Janna Sampson, co-chief investment officer at Oakbrook
Investments in Lisle, Illinois, said McDonald's does not control
currency exchange rates or taxes -- which dinged results in the
latest quarter and are expected to be issues in coming months. 
    "Those two things, coupled with the July guidance, certainly
means next quarter is going to be tough," Sampson said.    
    Same-restaurant sales rose 3.6 percent in the United States
and 3.8 percent in Europe in the second quarter. Analysts
expected gains of 3.5 percent in the U.S. and 2.4 percent for
Europe.
    Results were a bit better than expected at 0.9 percent in
the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, where Japan
weighed on results for the quarter.
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