Yum! Brands' (NYSE:YUM) stock surged nearly 8% yesterday on its first-quarter results, but one might wonder if investors got ahead of themselves in their optimism. 

The company's first-quarter net income actually dropped 14% to $218 million, or $0.46 per share, even though the company's headlines touted 14% profit growth "excluding special items." The special items included a $100 million pre-tax gain in 2008 from the sale of its interest in KFC Japan as well as U.S. "business transformation" gains/losses from refranchising and restructuring in 2009.

Global sales growth increased 4% before currency translation, with China jumping 12% -- quite a difference from the 2% decline that Yum! Brands experienced in U.S. sales; however, including the currency effects, net sales actually fell 8% to $2.2 billion. Worldwide same-store sales increased just 1%.

I'm not quite sure why investors responded so enthusiastically to the quarter. As far as I can tell, rival McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) had a far more impressive quarter earlier this week, although its revenue also dropped due to the strong dollar; however, its same-store sales clocked in at a much more impressive rate, and it did increase profit. Of course, maybe the fact that Yum! beat analysts' expectations of $0.40 per share whipped up an enthusiastic response.

Yum! Brands has an array of popular and well-known fast-food brands, including Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, and a lot of investors also like the stock because of its continued expansion into the Chinese market. Meanwhile, I'm sure it was heartening that Yum! Brands stuck to its guidance for 10% earnings growth in 2009.

I thought Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) (NYSE:CMG-B) looked pretty darn overpriced after its recent quarterly results, but I also think Yum! looks a tad pricey at 18 times trailing earnings, especially after a not-overly-inspiring quarter. I prefer McDonald's, a leader in the fast-food sector, which also includes Burger King (NYSE:BKC) and Wendy's/Arby's (NYSE:WEN). Plus, McDonald's has been firing on all cylinders and trades at just 14 times earnings.

Maybe I'm underestimating the future growth of Yum! Brands' international expansion, but Yum! Brands isn't a stock I find too tempting right at this moment. Waiting for a little less euphoria surrounding the stock might make for a better buying opportunity.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.