Worldwide January sales at restaurants open at least 13 months were up 5.3 percent. In the United States, where high unemployment has taken a bite out of sales at fast-food chains, sales were up 3.1 percent.
Wall Street expected global sales and U.S. sales each to rise 4.4 percent. The U.S. market accounts for about 35 percent of McDonald's revenue.
Same-restaurant sales in Europe were up 7.0 percent, while sales in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) unit rose 5.2 percent.
Analysts had expected Europe sales to rise 3.7 percent and APMEA sales to jump 4.6 percent. Europe contributes around 40 percent of McDonald's total revenue.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Derek Caney)