McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday. The firm presently has a $196.00 target price on the fast-food giant’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would indicate a potential upside of 12.01% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “McDonald’s shares outpaced the industry in the past year. Notably, growing guest count remains McDonald’s top priority and it is undertaking various sales and digital initiatives to this end. Increased focus on delivery, enhancement of digital capabilities, and accelerated deployment of Experience of the Future restaurants in the United States should drive growth too. Efforts to attract customers in International Lead & High Growth Markets also bode well. In fact, global comps at McDonald’s have been positive over the past eight quarters. Meanwhile, augmented focus on refranchising will cut the company’s capital requirements and facilitate EPS growth and ROE expansion in the long run. Yet, high labor costs and currency headwinds might keep profits under pressure. Also, political and economic unrest in some parts of the world and a not so enticing U.S. restaurant space might restrict sales growth.”

A number of other analysts have also weighed in on MCD. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $186.00 price target on shares of McDonald's and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, January 12th. Barclays reissued an “overweight” rating and issued a $205.00 price target (up previously from $193.00) on shares of McDonald's in a report on Tuesday. Nomura set a $183.00 price target on shares of McDonald's and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 17th. Goldman Sachs Group set a $190.00 price target on shares of McDonald's and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, January 5th. Finally, Longbow Research raised shares of McDonald's from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the company from $154.05 to $183.00 in a report on Thursday, September 28th. Nine research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. McDonald's currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $179.35.

Shares of McDonald's (NYSE MCD) traded up $0.01 during trading on Thursday, hitting $174.99. 1,240,549 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 3,150,891. The company has a current ratio of 1.28, a quick ratio of 1.27 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -8.17. The firm has a market capitalization of $141,460.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.25, a P/E/G ratio of 2.75 and a beta of 0.67. McDonald's has a fifty-two week low of $119.82 and a fifty-two week high of $175.78.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The fast-food giant reported $1.76 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.75 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $5.75 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.75 billion. McDonald's had a net margin of 24.19% and a negative return on equity of 216.45%. McDonald's’s revenue for the quarter was down 10.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.62 earnings per share. equities analysts anticipate that McDonald's will post 6.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, insider Stephen Easterbrook sold 171,577 shares of McDonald's stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $168.32, for a total transaction of $28,879,840.64. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 49,778 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,378,632.96. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP James R. Sappington sold 8,046 shares of McDonald's stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $165.00, for a total transaction of $1,327,590.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 15,739 shares in the company, valued at $2,596,935. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.24% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vantage Financial Partners Ltd. Inc. acquired a new stake in McDonald's in the 2nd quarter valued at $322,000. Horan Capital Advisors LLC. bought a new stake in shares of McDonald's during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $104,000. Phocas Financial Corp. bought a new stake in shares of McDonald's during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $107,000. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of McDonald's by 17.2% during the 2nd quarter. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. now owns 709 shares of the fast-food giant’s stock worth $108,000 after acquiring an additional 104 shares during the period. Finally, Proficio Capital Partners LLC lifted its holdings in shares of McDonald's by 87.8% during the 1st quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 740 shares of the fast-food giant’s stock worth $111,000 after acquiring an additional 346 shares during the period. 67.30% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About McDonald's

McDonald’s Corporation (McDonald’s) operates and franchises McDonald’s restaurants. The Company’s restaurants serve a locally relevant menu of food and drinks sold at various price points in over 100 countries. The Company’s segments include U.S., International Lead Markets, High Growth Markets, and Foundational Markets and Corporate.

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