The global fast-food restaurant group posted 56 cents fourth quarter earnings per share, and sees at least 38 cents first quarter earnings per share, as well as $2.00 for 2003. Analyst John Glass says fourth quarter earnings per share beat his estimate by a penny, thanks to a lower-than-expected tax rate and a greater-than-expected share repurchase.
Glass says international activity continues to be bright spot, with constant currency revenue growth of 8%, and operating profits up 15% on a like basis. He notes the company is maintaining its up 2% comparison guidance for 2003 despite expecting comparisons to be down 2% in the first quarter. He views maintaining the 2003 guidance as optimistic given the competitive/economic environment.
Glass upped his $1.99 2003 earnings per share estimate to $2.00. He rates the shares as sector perform.