Shares of the world's largest hamburger chain were down 2.1 percent at $78.63 in morning trading after hitting an all-time intraday high of $80.94 on Tuesday.
They're a victim of their own success during the recovery, and I guess one would be skeptical: Are they going to potentially lose share that they have gained? said Oppenheimer analyst Matt DiFrisco, who has a peer perform rating on the stock. That would be overreading these numbers.
McDonald's September sales far outpaced Wall Street's estimates and it forecast a stronger-than-expected jump in October. After raising the bar, October came in below expectations, but the company has outperformed most rivals.
Last month, Jack in the Box Inc
Peter Jankovskis, a chief investment officer with OakBrook Investments, which owns shares in McDonald's, said Asia concerned him most.
The problem here is that Asia had been a weak spot for McDonald's from 2006 through about 2008, he said. They had changed up management in that area and were showing some good success in 2009, but now it looks like they've taken a step backward.
LOWER PRICES, LONGER HOURS
Despite the macroeconomic weakness that has dented overall demand, McDonald's has been taking U.S. market share from rivals like No. 2 hamburger chain Burger King, which is now private after its sale to 3G Capital.
McDonald's has lured diners with low-priced food on its U.S. Dollar Menu, renovated restaurants and, in some markets, longer operating hours. But analysts said the easy comparisons with a year ago were coming to an end.
Worldwide November sales at restaurants open at least 13 months were up 4.8 percent. In the United States, where high unemployment has taken a bite out of sales at fast-food chains, sales were up 4.9 percent.
Several analysts said Wall Street had expected global sales to rise 5.6 percent and U.S. sales to increase 5.1 percent. The U.S. market accounts for about 35 percent of McDonald's revenue.
The company, which is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on January 24, said U.S. results were driven by strong demand for its McRib sandwich and McCafe beverages.
Same-restaurant sales in Europe were up 4.9 percent, while sales in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa unit rose 2.4 percent. Analysts had expected Europe sales to rise 4.9 percent and APMEA sales to jump 6.4 percent.
In Europe, the company pointed to strong performances in France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, as well as a focus on higher tier items like McWraps in Germany and restaurant modernization.
The company said Australia drove results in the APMEA region, and sales were positive in China and most other markets. But it cited weakness in Japan, which Baird analyst David Tarantino said has a relatively small impact in profit.
Japan's just been very volatile this year in terms of monthly same-store sales, said Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Mark Kalinowski, who has a buy rating on the shares.
Systemwide sales, which includes those at restaurants operated by the company as well as franchisees, increased 4.7 percent, or 6.1 percent in constant currencies, for the month.
McDonald's said foreign currencies have weakened and at current rates currency translation is expected to hurt fourth-quarter earnings by 1 to 2 cents a share.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, John Wallace, Dave Zimmerman)