McDonald's Upgraded To Overweight From Neutral At Piper Jaffray

By Ciara LinnaneMarketWatch Pulse

McDonald's Corp. stock was upgraded to overweight from neutral at Piper Jaffray Friday, with analysts taking a positive stance after the fast-food giant beat profit estimates for the third quarter a day earlier. "We believe a number of meaningful catalysts exist from a stock perspective as we expect the company to continue to execute against its strategic plan and leverage its economic advantage in terms of its industry-leading average unit volumes and sheer size of its global footprint," analysts wrote in a note. Management is now coming from a position of strength as it executes on its strategy, as opposed to facing the task of creating one, said the note. At the same time, comparables are expected to benefit from technology, changes such as the decision to offer breakfast items all day, menu and marketing innovation and pricing power. Piper lifted its price target on the stock to $130 from $95, or 37% above its current trading level. McDonald's shares rose 1.6% in recent trade and are up 20% in the year so far, outperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is down 1.2%.

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