McDonald's Profit Surges 42 Percent on Strong U.S. Sales

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) on Tuesday said quarterly net income rose 42 percent, in line with a higher-than-expected forecast the company gave last week, helped by strong sales in the United States and a tax benefit.

Shares of McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant company, rose 1.4 percent before the bell.

Net earnings for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 were $778.4 million, or 61 cents per share, up from $547.4 million, or 43 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding a tax benefit of 7 cents per share, the Oak Brook, Ill. hamburger chain earned 54 cents per share for the quarter.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $4.9 billion, while sales at McDonald's restaurants open at least 13 months, a key measure known as same-store sales, rose 5.8 percent.

McDonald's last week reported preliminary earnings of 61 cents a share for the quarter, above Wall Street analysts' average estimate at the time of 49 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

McDonald's U.S. same-store sales have surpassed expectations in recent months due to the success of new products like the chain's Chicken Selects (search) fried chicken strips, later restaurant hours, and the ability to pay by credit card.

Strength in that market, the company's biggest, has offset softer sales in Europe, where McDonald's said economic weakness in places like Germany has hampered sales.

To boost sales in Europe, its No. 2 market, McDonald's is focusing on lower-priced offerings, Chief Executive Charlie Bell (search) said in a statement. The company said it is also making improvements to both its menu and service in Britain.

Shares of McDonald's, which operates over 30,000 of its fast-food restaurants worldwide, rose to $29.60 in pre-market trading from $29.20 at the close on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.