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McDonald’s Enters the Chicken Sandwich Wars

publication date: Dec 2, 2019
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Image Shown: Shares of McDonald’s Corporation have pulled back over the past couple of months after an epic run during most of 2019, which we view as the market recognizing shares of MCD had gotten way ahead of themselves. 

McDonald’s is testing out a new crispy chicken sandwich offering in two US cities; Knoxville, Tennessee and Houston, Texas. This pilot project is expected to run through January 2020. While McDonald’s offers the ‘McChicken,’ its new chicken sandwich offering is far more substantial (the McChicken is to a chicken sandwich what the ‘McDouble’ is to a burger) and meant to compete with offerings from privately-held Chick-fil-A and Restaurant Brands' Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. We still view shares of McDonald’s as overvalued as the top end of our fair value range estimate sits at $189 per share, and MCD trades at ~$195 per share as of this writing. Shares of McDonald’s yield 2.6% as of this writing, and while the company’s free cash flow profile is impressive, its large net debt load (~$31.7 billion as of the end of September 2019) weighs negatively on the strength of its dividend coverage.

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