McDonald’s lower quarterly profit misses estimate

HIGHLANDF PARK, Ill. Fri Oct 19, 2012 – McDonald’s Corp. missed Wall Street’s expectations for the second quarter in a row and said October sales at existing restaurants have fallen as the economy and competitive pressures hit the world’s biggest fast-food chain.

A strong U.S. dollar weighed on results once again in the third quarter.

Shares of McDonald’s, which has stepped up advertising to fend off resurgent rivals such as Burger King Worldwide Inc. and The Wendy’s Co., fell to $90.51 in premarket trade on Friday from Thursday’s closing price of $92.90.

Global sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 1.9 percent, the first time that such sales gained less than 2 percent since the second quarter of 2003. Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had expected a 2 percent increase.

The sluggish U.S. economy and Europe’s belt-tightening are squeezing even the most resilient restaurant operators, as diners spend cautiously on meals away from home.

“October’s global comparable sales are currently trending negative,” McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson said in a statement.

Income at McDonald’s fell to $1.46 billion, or $1.43 per share, in the third quarter, from $1.51 billion, or $1.45 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected McDonald’s to earn $1.47 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.