McDonald's, which has been outperforming its peers, had signaled last month that U.S. October sales would be weak.
Analysts said that while the world's largest hamburger chain is not invulnerable to price wars and rising unemployment it remains a strong competitor.
The dip in sales at U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months marked the first time McDonald's same-store sales fell in its home market since March 2008, when such sales declined 0.8 percent.
Despite that, McDonald's U.S. same-restaurant sales result still implies that it is gaining share since most of its peers are reporting more negative numbers, Oppenheimer analyst Matthew DiFrisco said.
And, McDonald's overseas restaurants are still benefiting from remodeling, extended hours and other strategies that previously boosted U.S. sales, said Jefferies & Co analyst Jeff Farmer.
As a result, McDonald's same-store sales rose 3.3 percent worldwide.
Closely watched same-store sales rose 6.4 percent in Europe, helped by Britain, France and Germany.
Comparable sales rose 4.7 percent in the company's Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa segment, driven by Japan and Australia.
U.S. A BATTLEFIELD
McDonald's has been outperforming Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc
It has aggressively promoted its new coffee drinks and introduced pricier fare, such as a trio of Angus burgers, which sold well in the month.
But its rivals are stepping up with a broad range of inexpensive fare, including a new $1 double cheeseburger from Burger King, a new 99-cent menu from Dunkin Donuts and a value menu from Taco Bell
Elsewhere, grocery prices have been falling, prompting some consumers to eat more meals at home.
McDonald's owns the biggest piece of the fast-food breakfast business and on October 27 McDonald's Chief Executive Jim Skinner said high U.S. unemployment has had some impact on the company's breakfast business, as fewer people pick up food on the way to work.
Last week, Wendy's/Arby's said sales at established Wendy's restaurants in North America fell 0.1 percent in the latest quarter, pressured in part by the company getting out of the breakfast game in about 300 restaurants. Such sales fell 9 percent at Arby's existing North American locations.
Burger King's system-wide same-restaurant sales fell 4.6 percent in the United States and Canada for the September quarter.
Shares of McDonald's rose 93 cents to $62.65 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Wendy's were up 1.1 percent to $4.50 and Burger King's stock was down 0.5 percent to $17.47.
(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman and Steve Orlofsky)