Divergences Could Sink McDonald’s Uptrend

Dow component McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) posted an all-time high above 238 this week, adding to a modest uptick after the company beat Q1 2021 top and bottom line estimates, earning $1.92 per-share on 8.7% revenue growth to $5.12 billion. Global comparative sales rose a healthy 7.5%, underpinned by a 13.6% surge in the United States. Foreign venues reported positive but less impressive growth, highlighting continued restrictions as a result of the pandemic.

Winning the Chicken Wars

The fast food giant noted continued expansion of digital order and delivery segments, even though seating restrictions have been eased or removed in many states. It’s looking for pent-up demand to drive positive net 2021 growth, although it hasn’t been too hard to buy a Big Mac since April 2020. The company also noted victories in the chicken sandwich wars breaking out across the nation, noting their applicants “have exceeded projections especially after 4pm”.

Telsey Advisory Group analyst Bob Derrington raised his target to $260 on Tuesday, noting the company “reported strong 1Q results which included adjusted EPS of $1.92 compared to our $1.76 estimates. McDonald’s global system sales benefited from the strategic embrace of its 3-Ds (Drive-thru, Digital, Delivery), its streamlined menu, quicker drive-thru service and the successful launch of new products across its system. That included the February launch of its new Crispy Chicken sandwich within its U.S. market, which has enjoyed robust sales”.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus now stands at an ‘Overweight’ rating based upon 25 ‘Buy’, 2 ‘Overweight’, and 9 ‘Hold’ recommendations. No analysts are recommending that shareholders close positions and move to the sidelines. Price targets currently range from a low of $225 to a Street-high $282 while the stock is set to open Thursday’s session about $25 below the median $260 target. Additional upside appears likely, given this relatively humble configuration.

McDonald’s topped out above 220 in August 2019 and plunged to a multiyear low during 2020’s pandemic decline. A strong recovery wave reached the prior high in September, yielding a failed breakout, followed by a rounded correction that completed a cup and handle pattern in March. The breakout into May has started slowly, with the stock trading just three or four points above new support, but this classic pattern may support much higher prices in coming months.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.