1. McDonald's sales lose some bite
Ronald McDonald is a creepy clown dude, but it's McDonald's recent sales news that scares investors. Shares of McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) (NYSE: MCD ) fell 1.12% Monday after sales at U.S. stores dropped by 0.8% in November when analysts expected a gain.
What's the problem? An extra-large serving of competition. Burger King recently rolled out a McRib alternative and Taco Bell introduced breakfast foods (where's the fajita lox?), and McD's has been forcing new food items down your throat that haven't stuck -- pumpkin lattes, chicken wings, and bacon cheddar McChicken sandwiches. The MarketSnacks team is satisfied with a Happy Meal toy.
The takeaway is that America has been unkind to the world's largest chain restaurant lately. U.S. fast-food sales rose nearly 1% in 2012 and McDonald's European sales gained 1.9% last month, but its U.S. same-store sales haven't gained more than 1% since July. Wall Street's starting to worry about the trend.
2. Biggest airline merger is official
Regulations, schmegulations. All regulatory hurdles have been cleared with the Department of Justice since the merger was proposed last spring -- and compromises on the "free peanuts vs. free pretzels" argument have been found (now both will come at a cost). The merger marks the end of decades of consolidation in the airline industry. The stock took off with a first-class 2.7% gain in its debut.
3. Sysco hungry for $3.5 billion acquisition
Investment bankers are calling this merger "the best thing since sliced bread." According to The New York Times, cost savings and synergies of the combined company are worth $4 billion in present value, so the heavy $3.5 billion price tag to Sysco looks cheap. Sysco's stock rose 10% on Monday on the tasty M&A news.
- NFIB Small Biz Optimism Survey