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Why Arcos Dorados Is Soaring

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Shares of Arcos Dorados (NYSE: ARCO  ) , the largest franchisee of McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) restaurants in Latin America, are up sharply today after the company reported upbeat second-quarter earnings.

The fast-food operator continued its strong top-line momentum. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, total revenue grew an impressive 15.5% on a constant currency basis. Systemwide same-store sales, an important statistic in the restaurant industry, increased 10.4%.

Although these growth rates are the slowest in at least six quarters, they're nevertheless impressive for two reasons. First, as you can see in the table below, they matched up against massive figures from the second quarter of 2011, when top-line growth and comps came in at 18.5% and 14.8%, respectively.


Q1 2011

Q2 2011

Q3 2011

Q4 2011

Q1 2012

Q2 2012

Comps* 12.5% 14.8% 19.8% 11.5% 11.6% 10.4%
Revenue* 16.5% 18.5% 15.7% 16.1% 16.6% 15.5%
EPS $0.15 $0.07 $0.09 $0.22 $0.12 $0.06

Source: Arco Dorados' earnings releases. *Year-over-year percent change on a constant currency basis.

And second, the numbers were achieved in the face of some of the same headwinds that hobbled many of Arcos' North American neighbors in the second quarter.

The popular burrito chain Chipotle (NYSE: CMG  ) , for instance, missed top-line estimates after reporting a decrease in customer traffic. Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD  ) failed to meet expectations on the bottom line due to an increase in the cost of chicken wings. And not unlike Acros, McDonald's sales were hurt by unfavorable currency translation.

For the quarter, Arcos reported earnings per share of $0.06, undercutting a consensus estimate of $0.07. According to the company's CEO: "Our operations continue to be very strong, led by higher average check growth, increased guest counts and successful marketing activities across all regions. The result is double-digit organic revenue growth, which is on target with our stated expectations."

While shares in the fast-food chain are up today, they're down nearly 27% for the year and approximately 30% since going public in April 2011.

The company pays a quarterly dividend of $0.06, equating to an annualized dividend yield of 1.6% -- though, if you're looking for dividend stocks, the nine identified in our recent free report about rock-solid dividend payers are significantly more accretive to wealth. Click here to gain instant access to this report.

Click here to add Arcos Dorados to My Watchlist.

Fool contributor John Maxfield does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings, McDonald's, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Arcos Dorados Holdings. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls on Buffalo Wild Wings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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