McDonald's Corp. (MCD) Friday announced preliminary second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates and reported higher June sales, sending its shares up 2.5 percent.

The world's largest restaurant chain said second-quarter earnings would be about 42 cents a share after tax expense of 9 cents a share for repatriating $3.2 billion in overseas profits and expenses of 2 cents a share for stock-based compensation.

Excluding the tax expense, earnings would be 51 cents a share, 3 cents better than the average estimate among analysts polled by Reuters Estimates. The company is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings July 21.

The company said sales at its hamburger restaurants open at least 13 months, or same-store sales, rose 3.8 percent in June, near the high end of Wall Street forecasts.

The sales gain was led by strength in its flagship U.S. business, which has been boosted by sales of new fruit and walnut salads and extended hours. Wall Street analysts had been expecting a rise of between 2 percent and 4.1 percent, according to research reports.

Same-store sales (search), a key retail measure, climbed 5.4 percent in the United States and 1.3 percent in Europe, the company's No. 2 market.

Analysts had forecast a rise of between 4 percent and 6 percent in the United States and an increase of 1 percent to 1.5 percent in Europe, according to research reports.

The company has used new menu items and a European version of its popular U.S. "dollar menu" to try to jump-start sales in Europe.

"Positive performance in France and Germany was partly offset by continued weakness in the United Kingdom," Chief Executive Jim Skinner (search) said in a news release.

Same-store sales rose 2.9 percent in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, driven by sales in Australia, the company said.

McDonald's shares rose were up 74 cents to $30.34 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.