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Stock Market News: McDonald's Serves Up a Shortfall; Procter & Gamble Shines

By Dan Caplinger - Oct 22, 2019 at 10:45AM

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Earnings season left major benchmarks largely mixed.

The stock market saw early gains on Tuesday morning, but the mood on Wall Street was generally mixed. Earnings season continued to draw most of the headlines, and although investors have been pleased with the overall performance of companies announcing results thus far, some reports haven't been as good as others. As of 11:20 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.18%) was up 47 points to 26,875. The S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.43%) climbed 4 points to 3,011, but the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.00%) lost 10 points to 8,153.

Two major Dow components weighed in with their latest financial results, and they provided two very different reads on how things are going. McDonald's (MCD 1.27%) left a bad taste in some shareholders' mouths, with earnings falling short of what many had expected. However, Procter & Gamble (PG -0.23%) had better success in keeping investors happy, with key parts of its business contributing to its overall growth.

Not-so-golden arches

Shares of McDonald's sank 3% after the fast-food giant reported its third-quarter financial results. Although top-line performance looked solid on its face, the company couldn't satisfy investors entirely with its overall numbers.

McDonald's location at dusk with metal framing.

Image source: McDonald's.

McDonald's reported a 1% rise in consolidated revenue, with the strong U.S. dollar costing it about 2 percentage points of sales growth. Comparable-sales growth of 5.9% worldwide showed the strength of the burger chain's customer appeal, with comps gains of 4.8% in the U.S., 5.6% in international company-operated locations, and 8.1% in licensed restaurants overseas.

However, investors weren't pleased that adjusted earnings sank 2% from year-ago levels. Moreover, even the gains in comps weren't as strong as many had hoped, reflecting strong competition from other restaurants in the fast-food space. A host of new products from rival chains has left McDonald's playing catch-up, and that's not a role that the quick-service leader is used to playing.

McDonald's stock has soared over the past year as investors have expected extremely strong performance. With such a high hurdle to overcome, it's not surprising to see McDonald's giving back a bit of ground as shareholders recalibrate their expectations.

P&G cleans up

On the other side of the coin, Procter & Gamble's stock moved up 4%. The consumer products giant announced solid gains in its fiscal first quarter, easing investors' concerns about P&G's ability to produce long-term growth.

Procter & Gamble's fundamental numbers were strong. Total revenue and organic sales both climbed 7% from year-ago levels, and core earnings per share soared 22% year over year despite some headwinds from weakness in foreign currencies.

P&G saw particularly good numbers in several product areas. Organic sales jumped 10% in the beauty category, with big success from the company's SK-II superpremium skin and personal care brand, as well as China Olay. Personal healthcare product sales sent healthcare segment organic growth up 9%, and the fabric and home care segment also saw healthy gains of 8% in organic sales.

The news from Procter & Gamble is even sweeter given that rival Unilever announced more lackluster results in its quarterly report. After having gone through an extended period of sluggishness, P&G looks like it's taking advantage of more favorable conditions and finding ways to grow through innovation and brand awareness.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool is short shares of Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

McDonald's Corporation Stock Quote
McDonald's Corporation
$260.06 (1.27%) $3.26
The Procter & Gamble Company Stock Quote
The Procter & Gamble Company
$144.93 (-0.23%) $0.34
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$32,774.41 (-0.18%) $-58.13
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$4,122.47 (-0.43%) $-17.59
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$12,644.46 (0.00%) $0.00

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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