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McDonald's earnings show sizzling first-quarter results

French fry chemical tested for hair growth

OAK BROOK, Ill. - Traffic at McDonald's (MCD) restaurants was surprisingly strong during the first quarter, pushing the world's biggest burger chain far past Wall Street expectations.

Comparable-store sales in the U.S., where the company has struggled, rose 2.9 percent. This measure of sales at McDonald's restaurants open for a year or more rose 5.5 percent globally -- a lot stronger than the 3.6 percent increase that industry analysts had forecast, according to a survey by FactSet.

The Oak Brook, Illinois, fast-food giant earned $1.38 billion, or $1.72 per share, for the period ended March 31. A year earlier the hamburger chain earned $1.21 billion, or $1.47 per share.

Earnings, adjusted for pretax expenses, came to $1.79 per share, which is way better than the per-share earnings of $1.67 that industry analysts had projected, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research.

Total revenue declined to $5.14 billion from $5.68 billion, but it still managed to edge out forecasts.

Shares of McDonald's rose more than 4 percent before the market opened on Monday.

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