Rare McDonald's bull boosts price target

With just two days under his belt at the helm of McDonald's, CEO Steve Easterbrook is already inspiring one firm to raise its price target on the fast-food giant's stock.

In a note to clients Monday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts raised their price target to $112 from $101 and reiterated a "buy" rating. This represents about 12 percent upside from McDonald's closing price.

Customers visit a McDonald's restaurant in Dallas.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Customers visit a McDonald's restaurant in Dallas.

The firm continues to be a rare bull on McDonald's stock with the majority of analysts rating shares a "hold," according to FactSet.

The increased target reflects "higher restaurant group valuations and a greater potential for change under new CEO Steve Easterbrook, who views himself as an 'internal activist,'" analysts wrote in a report.

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Easterbrook has his hands full turning around the company's U.S. unit and fixing continued negative sales trends in Asia after a food supplier scandal last summer.

He replaced Don Thompson, who struggled to revive the company's domestic sales. From Thompson's start date to the announcement that he would retire, McDonald's stock was nearly flat.

MCD's stock on the rise
MCD's stock on the rise   

Investors have responded positively to the shuffle, sending McDonald's stock up nearly 13 percent since the retirement announcement.

Formerly the president of McDonald's Europe and CEO of two other UK-based restaurants, Easterbook is "unlikely to maintain the status quo," analysts wrote.

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Part of the rise in McDonald's shares recently is also due to chatter about a possible activist investor in McDonald's, said Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy in a recent CNBC interview.

An activist investor in McDonald's would join several other restaurants that have also drawn activist interest in the last two years, including Darden Restaurants, Bob Evans and Wendy's.