Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning. The firm currently has $196.00 price target on the fast-food giant’s stock.

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.”

MCD has been the subject of several other reports. ValuEngine cut McDonald's from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Goldman Sachs Group set a $180.00 target price on McDonald's and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 12th. Robert W. Baird reiterated an outperform rating and set a $170.00 target price on shares of McDonald's in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. Royal Bank of Canada increased their target price on McDonald's from $175.00 to $180.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Friday, October 13th. Finally, Longbow Research upgraded McDonald's from a neutral rating to a buy rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $154.05 to $183.00 in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. Nine investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $179.68.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) traded up $1.55 during trading on Thursday, hitting $176.12. The stock had a trading volume of 3,687,427 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,346,411. The stock has a market cap of $140,400.39, a PE ratio of 25.41, a P/E/G ratio of 2.78 and a beta of 0.67. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of -8.17, a quick ratio of 1.27 and a current ratio of 1.28. McDonald's has a 12 month low of $119.82 and a 12 month high of $176.64.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The fast-food giant reported $1.76 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.75 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $5.75 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.75 billion. McDonald's had a negative return on equity of 216.45% and a net margin of 24.19%. The business’s revenue was down 10.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.62 EPS. equities analysts forecast that McDonald's will post 6.53 EPS for the current year.

In other McDonald's news, insider Stephen Easterbrook sold 171,577 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $168.32, for a total value of $28,879,840.64. Following the sale, 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 filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, VP James R. Sappington sold 8,046 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $165.00, for a total value of $1,327,590.00. Following the completion of the sale, 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. 0.24% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board increased its holdings in shares of McDonald's by 1.0% during the second quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 449,237 shares of the fast-food giant’s stock valued at $68,805,000 after purchasing an additional 4,300 shares during the period. Teacher Retirement System of Texas increased its holdings in shares of McDonald's by 10.6% during the second quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas now owns 467,212 shares of the fast-food giant’s stock valued at $71,558,000 after purchasing an additional 44,899 shares during the period. Tredje AP fonden increased its holdings in shares of McDonald's by 26.7% during the second quarter. Tredje AP fonden now owns 120,490 shares of the fast-food giant’s stock valued at $18,454,000 after purchasing an additional 25,380 shares during the period. Beaton Management Co. Inc. acquired a new position in shares of McDonald's during the second quarter valued at $555,000. Finally, Buckingham Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of McDonald's by 157.5% during the second quarter. Buckingham Asset Management LLC now owns 18,973 shares of the fast-food giant’s stock valued at $2,906,000 after purchasing an additional 11,604 shares during the period. 67.30% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other 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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