McDonald's slides after JP Morgan analyst says chain's earnings seem 'softer' than expected

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Teenagers at a McDonald’s restaurant in Hong Kong.

Budrul Chukrut | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

McDonald’s shares slid more 2% on Tuesday after an analyst at J.P. Morgan raised concern about the fast-food chain’s third-quarter results.

Analyst John Ivankoe lowered his estimate for same-store sales growth — a key metric for restaurants — to 5% from 6% and trimmed his full-year earnings expectations. He said conversations with McDonald’s management along with his team’s checks “suggest 3Q trending softer than we thought.”

Ivankoe pointed to “less value attention” around McDonald’s’ buy-one-get-one for $1 relative to last year’s 2-for-$5 deal and the chain’s “uninteresting” Spicy BBQ chicken sandwiches that were released in the middle of the quarter as some of the reasons for the lowered estimate.

“The Summer of 2019 will be remembered for the premium chicken sandwich wars, led by Popeye’s and publicly fought by Chick-Fil-A and Wendy’s, and of course plant-based meats of which US McDonald’s absence is notable vs Burger King’s ‘Impossible Whopper,'” Ivankoe said in a note.

McDonald’s announced on Friday it will test out plant-based burgers in Canada after Burger King unveiled its Impossible Burger in August. Popeyes launched its first-ever chicken sandwich in August to compete with Chick-fil-A, sending the chain’s sales skyrocketing.

But Ivankoe kept his overweight rating on the stock along with his $230 per share price target. “We still like MCD longer-term but believe 3Q19 results may present a better buying opportunity.”

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