On Wednesday, before the opening bell, McDonald’s Corp. (MCD, -1.36%) is scheduled to report first quarter earnings. Over the last few months, McDonald’s has had to face a variety of challenges such as the scandal around a meat supplier in China, the changing taste of consumers, complaints regarding low wages and worker safety as well as dissatisfied franchisees. Despite these challenges, the shares of McDonald’s have seen positive movement lately and investors will now be focused on the fast food chain’s ability to continue to produce positive results. According to analysts, McDonald’s is expected to report earnings of $1.06 a share which is down from the $1.21 a share reported a year ago. Also, as of the 31st of December, the estimate for the first quarter has declined from $1.19 a share and for the past 4 quarters, McDonald’s has missed expectations. Analysts also expect the company to report revenue of $5.96 billion which is down from the revenue of $6.7 billion reported a year ago. Added to this, analysts expect to see a decline of 2% in same-store sales which has declined for 5 straight quarters. For many years, the share price of McDonald’s has moved between the range of $90 and $100 and it is currently trading at $94.87 a share.
In trading on Tuesday, U.S. stocks traded lower and the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 failed to extend previous gains. As a result of merger and acquisition activity in the biotechnology sector, the Nasdaq Composite index was boosted. At the close of trading, the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) advanced 0.4%, or 19.50 points, to 5,014.10. News revealed that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (ARCA:TEVA) Ltd. made a bid to buy rival Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) which pushed the Nasdaq Biotechnology index up 1.8%. Breaking the upward trend was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) which lost 0.5%, or 84.94 points, to settle at 17,949.72. Declines in DuPont and Travelers Companies Inc. negatively impacted the blue chip index with nearly two-thirds of its 30 components ending lower. Also on the downside was the S&P 500 index (SPX) which closed down 0.2%, or 3.06 points, to 2,097.34. Materials and energy stocks led the losses with 7 of the sector’s 10 main components finishing with losses.
On Tuesday, the U.S. dollar (USD) was little changed. The EUR/USD traded steady at 1.0730, yet the euro remained under pressure after the ZEW Centre for Economic Research said that the economic sentiment index in Germany declined from a reading of 54.8 in March to 53.3 in April, down 1.5 points. This missed analysts’ expectations for an increase to 55.3 in April. Added to this, Greece is no closer to reaching an agreement on economic reforms for bailout funds with its creditors. The British pound and the Japanese yen traded mixed against the greenback with GBP/USD at 1.4922, up 0.11% while USD/JPY traded at 119.55, up 0.31 percent. Against the Australian and Canadian dollars the USD also traded mixed with AUD/USD up 0.26% at 0.7743 and with USD/CAD up 0.27% and trading at 1.2258. Also, the U.S. dollar index was steady at 98.16.
On Wednesday, in morning Asian trading, crude oil prices eased. This came after data released yesterday showed a solid increase in U.S. stockpiles. According to their weekly report, the American Petroleum Institute said that stocks of crude oil increased last week by 5.5 million barrels. Also, the stockpiles of gasoline increased by 1.1 million barrels while distillate stocks gained by 1.7 million barrels. Today, investors will turn their attention the more closely watched numbers from the Department of Energy. WTI crude oil for delivery in June traded at $56.32 a barrel, down 0.70 percent. Elsewhere on Tuesday, Brent crude oil for delivery in June traded at $62.05 a barrel, down 2.20%, on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).