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McDonald's Looks to Beat 2Q Estimates

Updated:
OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) _ McDonald's Corp. said Wednesday that strong sales growth in June at its established restaurants worldwide should help it beat Wall Street's earnings estimates for the second quarter.

Sales at McDonald's outlets open for at least a year climbed 8.4 percent in June over the same month in 2003, including a 6.6 percent increase in the United States and 3.6 percent in Europe, the company said.

For the second quarter, systemwide sales at the fast food giant rose 11.6 percent.

As a result, the fast-food giant said it expects to report second-quarter earnings per share of about 47 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast the company's second-quarter earnings at 44 cents per share on revenues of $4.6 billion.

McDonald's shares rose $1.06, or 4 percent, to $27.74 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The sales pace was driven by customer-driven initiatives like the Salads Plus menu in Europe and the beginning of a music download promotion, president and CEO Charlie Bell said.

``This steady business momentum is what we planned to achieve when we launched our revitalization initiatives in early 2003,'' Bell said. ``We will remain intensely focused on further building brand relevance with our customers around the world through operational excellence and leadership marketing.''

June sales increased 6.8 percent in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, benefiting from enhanced menu variety and branded affordability programs, the company said.
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