McDonald's Falls Behind on Weak Sales

U.S. stock markets are moving slightly higher today as the earnings-fueled rally continues. The only major economic data was a 1.2% drop in existing-home sales, which shouldn't be a big shock, because interest rates have been rising for two months now. With 20 minutes left in trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is down a forgettable four points, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is also rather flat, up just 0.13%.

Shares of McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) have fallen 2.7% after the company reported earnings that fell short of expectations. Revenue rose 2.4% to $7.08 million, and earnings rose 4.5% to $1.38 per share, but both results were short of expectations. Performance in Europe and China was disappointing, and management said the rest of the year would be challenging as well. The company is facing headwinds such as slowing global growth and increasingly health-conscious consumers, which will keep growth low for the fast-food giant. 

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) rose 1.3% after an analyst from Wells Fargo said worries about PC sales are overblown. The company's PC unit only accounts for 10% of the company's profit, so falling sales won't be devastating. However, keep in mind that none of the company's operating segments is growing, and management is cutting workers to save costs. The stock may be a value trap already.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is up 1.5% in the first trading day after a devastating drop. Wall Street pummeled the stock on Friday following its earnings report, but the company isn't nearly so troubled as many think. Every operating segment reported rising revenue, and the server and office business is going strong. This is still one of the most powerful companies in tech, and even though it failed with the Surface, Microsoft isn't going away anytime soon. 

It's incredible how much our digital and technological lives are shaped by just a handful of companies, including Microsoft. Find out "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" in The Motley Fool's latest free report, which details the knock-down, drag-out battle being waged by the five kings of tech. Click here to keep reading.

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McDonald's CAPS Rating: ***
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