McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) is one of the poster children for what you might call the "trade-down nation" trend, and its shareholders aren't complaining. Once again, Mickey D's delivered amazing monthly comps as consumers gravitate toward low, low prices.

In November, McDonald's same-store sales increased by 7.7% globally. Its strongest showing was in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East, and Africa segment, where comps surged by 13.2%. European comps increased 7.8%. Here in the U.S., comps rose 4.5%, which is still pretty darn impressive given the current economic headwinds.

After all, Black Friday missed the black this year. Even mighty Costco (NASDAQ:COST) saw comps drop 5%. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) was one of the bright spots, of course, as it is also part of that "trade-down nation" idea, as nervous consumers try to wrangle the best deals they can in these recessionary times.

I can't get too excited about many restaurant stocks. Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) and Panera (NASDAQ:PNRA) are two that I still think could falter in the current economy. And while I've long thought Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) (NYSE:CMG-B) is a great stock idea for the long term, the near term may present difficulties for it.

McDonald's is a real winner for investors, though. While a stock that trades at 16 times earnings may sound a little high given all the single-digit price-to-earnings ratios out there in the retail world (plus, McDonald's is a pretty mature company in many ways), I'd say that premium's worth it, since the company continues to prove that it can produce growth despite its size. It's a leader in its industry, it has proved that it can excel in good times and bad, and it pays a dividend to boot. McDonald's continues to be a safe and stable stock for investors' portfolios.

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