Earnings Preview:  Time to Buy McDonald's?

McDonald's is scheduled to report before the bell on Thursday. While it has beaten EPS expectations 6 of the past 7 quarters, it has missed revenue expectations in the past three quarters according to First Call data. Before then, it beat revenue targets for 4 straight quarters.

The company is down over 5% YTD. Compare this to the Dow (of which McDonald's is a component) which is up over 14% over the same period. The company is the only consumer discretionary stock in the Dow that is negative for the year and it has barely outperformed against two of the big consumer staples stocks in the index, Wal-Mart and Proctor & Gamble , which are down ~8% and ~6% YTD.

Historically, earnings are a good time for MCD's share price. According to data from MarketHistory.com, McDonald's has dipped just before all 10 of its past 10 earnings reports and then has rallied after 9 of its past 10 earnings releases (see chart below). The stock has gained an average of 3.4% in the month that follows earnings.