McDonald's stock represents a compelling investment opportunity right now ahead of what's expected to be a strong year of sales, menu innovation and the potential for upside profit surprises at a notoriously safe company, according to Deutsche Bank. The brokerage upgraded McDonald's shares to a buy rating and set its price target at $244, representing 11% upside from Tuesday's close. "We think that the Risk/Reward for MCD is actually quite attractive at current levels, when one considers the quality of the company and the opportunity set elsewhere in Restaurants," analyst Brian Mullan wrote. "In a world in which the Casual Dining sector has become a 'bastion of safety,' we think rotating into MCD makes a lot of sense, at the moment." "In conclusion, we think the stock is going up from here and we'd be buyers," he added. Mullan was particularly bullish on McDonald's international operations, where he said underappreciated market share opportunities should lead to marked upward revisions to per-share earnings results in the years ahead. UBS also issued a rosy note on McDonald's on Wednesday, writing that McDonald's stock represents one of the best plays in the restaurant industry over the next year as customers continue to flock to its drive-thrus and snap up new menu offerings like a new chicken sandwich. UBS analyst Dennis Geiger told clients on Wednesday that traffic to the quick-service restaurant is expected to post dramatic growth figures in the first half of 2021 and will gain market share as its foray into chicken sandwiches elevates its brand image. The stock gained 0.85% in premarket trading. "We believe the new sandwich further elevates brand quality perceptions, putting MCD in the premium chicken sandwich game, w/ more chicken platform innovation coming," Geiger wrote. "Stimulus check benefits and easy compares should support outsized sales over the coming weeks." In the second half of the year, "we anticipate benefits from ongoing momentum, reopened lobbies, stronger breakfast sales, the launch of loyalty, and likely strong marketing" should fuel the momentum against tougher same-store sales comparisons, the analyst added. — CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed reporting.
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McDonald's stock represents a compelling investment opportunity right now ahead of what's expected to be a strong year of sales, menu innovation and the potential for upside profit surprises at a notoriously safe company, according to Deutsche Bank.