(By Mani) McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on improved U.S. sales. However, it expects near-term top and bottom-line growth to remain pressured, with January's global comparable sales expected to be negative.
The company reported net income of $1.40 billion, or $1.38 a share, higher than $1.38 billion, or $1.33 a share, in the same quarter last year. Total revenue rose 2 percent to $6.95 billion from $6.82 billion a year-ago.
Wall Street had expected the restaurant major to earn $1.33 a share on revenue of $6.89 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Global comparable sales, a key measure of retail performance, increased 0.1 percent, with U.S. comparable sales increasing 0.3 percent. During the quarter, the U.S. focused on enhancing its value leadership position by balancing strong everyday value messaging with affordable and compelling premium menu options.
On the flip side, comparable sales at Europe were down 0.6 percent and Asia-Pacific comps fell 1.7 percent.
"As we begin the new year, our average annual long-term targets in constant currency remain intact: Systemwide sales growth of 3% to 5%, operating income growth of 6% to 7%, and return on incremental invested capital in the high teens,"Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson said in a statement.
In 2013, McDonald's plan to invest about $3.2 billion of capital to open between 1,500 - 1,600 new restaurants and to reinvest in its existing locations, including reimaging more than 1,600 locations worldwide.
Shares of Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald's closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $92.95. In the pre-market hours, they gained about 1 percent, or 85 cents, to $93.80.