This Dow stock just hit all-time highs—and traders see more gains ahead

McDonald's shares hit an all-time high in Friday trading, and some strategists foresee more upside for the stock ahead of its earnings release next week.

Erin Gibbs, equity chief investment officer at S&P Global, says the fundamentals are now lining up nicely for the stock.

"Fresh not frozen beef has been the recent positive headline for McDonald's but it does have a few other things going for it," Gibbs wrote to CNBC in an email Thursday.

Specifically, its forward price-earnings ratio has come down from its mid-2016 peaks, and is now more in line with its recent average, she wrote. And the stock offers one of the highest dividend yields in the consumer discretionary sector — nearly 3 percent. Another positive element, Gibbs noted, is the company's recent organizational and leadership changes.

While revenue is expected to decline over the next three years, margins are projected to increase, leading to higher earnings growth, Gibbs wrote. The company is expecting 8 percent earnings growth for 2017 and 2018.

From a technical standpoint, McDonald's is set up very constructively in the short term, said Evercore ISI's head of technical analysis, Rich Ross.

Ross has observed a recent "textbook breakout" from an 18-month trading range between about the $111 and $131 marks, and projects another $20 of upside from current levels. Such a rally to the upside would imply a move up to $153 a share, "so currently this presents a good buying opportunity."

Looking further back, however, Ross said there is some "ominous symmetry" between this month's price action and that of April 2013.

Four years ago, "You had a very similar setup. Twenty percent decline, 20-plus percent rally, we push out to an all-time high in April of 2013," he said Thursday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." And that breakout to a new all-time high from a technical standpoint failed, and the stock traded in a rather narrow range over the next two years.

"So if this breakout were to fail and drop back into the pattern below that $130 level, I would not be quite as sanguine on this stock here," he said.

A group of 31 McDonald's franchisees said in a recent Nomura Instinet survey that they expect same-store sales at their respective locations to have grown 0.8 percent in the first quarter.

The stock is up more than 9 percent year to date; analysts on average give McDonald's an overweight rating with a slightly bullish $136.58 target price, per FactSet.


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