Fast-Food Stocks Mean Nice, Fat Profit


The biggest names in fast food can still fatten your portfolio, according to Banc of America senior research analyst Andy Barish.

"Fast food's a pretty safe place to be looking forward," he told CNBC. "In particular, the large companies have international exposure that's really been driving their business and stocks."

Barish takes care to point out that while shares of McDonald's and Yum! Brands are up more than 30 percent this year, others have not done nearly as well.

"Those big thematic areas that investors are looking for -- international exposure, weak-dollar plays, big balance sheets, free cash flows -- all fit very well with names like McDonald's or Yum right now," he said.

Barish declines to build those "weak-dollar plays" into his strategy, preferring to regard dollar weakness as "a nice tailwind" to the fortunes of both big fast-food chains.

"My sense is, at least for comparison purposes, for the beginning half of 2008, there'll probably still be some currency benefit, and then we'll have to see where things go from there," he told CNBC.

Barish does not personally own either McDonald's or Yum Brands, but his firm does, and counts both among its investment banking clients.