McDonald's Corp missed Wall Street's expectations for the second quarter in a row and said October sales at existing restaurants have fallen as the economy and competitive pressures hit the world's biggest fast-food chain.
A strong U.S. dollar weighed on results once again in the third quarter.
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Shares of McDonald's, which has stepped up advertising to fend off resurgent rivals such as Burger King Worldwide Inc and The Wendy's Co ,>
Global sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 1.9 percent, the first time that such sales gained less than 2 percent since the second quarter of 2003. Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had expected a 2 percent increase.
The sluggish U.S. economy and Europe's belt-tightening are squeezing even the most resilient restaurant operators, as diners spend cautiously on meals away from home.
"October's global comparable sales are currently trending negative," McDonald's Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson said in a statement.
Income at McDonald's fell to $1.46 billion, or $1.43 per share, in the third quarter, from $1.51 billion, or $1.45 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected McDonald's to earn $1.47 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The impact of the stronger dollar, which lessens the value of sales overseas for U.S. companies, trimmed earnings by 8 cents per share.
Total sales slipped to $7.15 billion from nearly $7.17 billion.
Comparable sales rose 1.9 percent in September, topping analysts' average forecast of 1.82 percent, according to Consensus Metrix. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Dale Hudson)