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Evercore ISI upgraded shares of McDonald's to outperform from in line on Monday, saying the company is well-positioned to ride out the trade war between the U.S. and China.
"[McDonald's] is the most defensive restaurant stock, it has less exposure to emerging economies, and the stock will likely outperform should equity volatility related to trade persist," Evercore analyst Matt McGinley said in a note.
McDonald's shares rose 0.4 percent Monday morning.
McGinley noted that McDonald's rode out the previous global recession well, thanks to the company's defensive position. McDonald's stock outperformed the S&P 500 index by 82 percent and the company continued to grow its operating profit, according to the analyst. The global fast-food chain has only become more defensive over the last decade, according to McGinley. While McDonald's was 20 percent company-owned during the last global recession, it is now only 7 percent company-owned today.
Compared with the rest of the restaurant industry, McDonald's economies of scale is of "increasing importance amid labor inflation, remodel investment, and a higher promotional cadence." As those shifts in the industry happen, McGinley said, restaurant chains will need "greater sophistication to plan, execute, and evolve."
Evercore does not have a price target on shares of McDonald's but does have a "base case" of $185 a share.