McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) recently put out some weaker-than-expected same-store sales gains in August, only 3.7% compared to expectations for a 3.9% gain. Despite being the best dow stock of 2011, McDonald's has disappointed this year. It's one of only four Dow stocks with a negative year-to-date return. A lof of that downward momentum has been the result of a series of misses -- just like August's -- so far this year. 

While this isn't encouraging, McDonald's isn't a stock you can look at quarter to quarter, or even over a 12-month horizon. It remains one of the ultimate long-term buy and hold gems out there, just like Coca-Cola. It sports a market topping dividend, and can count on consistent cash flow from its enormous network of leases. 

As good as their dividend is, though, there are better ones out there. You can read about our nine favorite in our exclusive Motley Fool special free report, "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." You can access your complimentary copy today at no cost! Just click here to discover the winners we've picked.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.