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Don't Overreact to McDonald's Results

Tickers in this article: KO MCD WMT YUM
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With weak third-quarter results coming out from Yum! Brands and Coca-Cola , McDonald's investors are chewing their nails, anxiously anticipating what the fast-food giant will say on Monday. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the company's quarter-to-quarter performance though.

First and foremost, the struggles of the entire consumer discretionary space are nothing new. Even the so-called "recession-proof" stocks like Wal-Mart have been hurt by weak same-store sales and reduced traffic. I don't believe there has been anything to suggest that these concerns will be immediately reversed as a result of the recent government shutdown.

For McDonald's, whose Golden Arches have long been the gold standard in the U.S. quick-service space, weak margins and sluggishness in China have taken a toll on the company's recent performance.

Last but not least, the company is now dealing with controversy as complaints have emerged regarding what many advocates believe to be poor wages for its frontline workers.

In fairness, McDonald's is not the only company "adhering" to minimum wage laws, and there is a point where the company is unfairly targeted. That said, management now has its hands full trying to improve slowing growth and profits in order to please investors and working to preserve the firm's public image.

Remarkably, the stock is remarkably only 6% down over the past six months. This speaks to the level of respect McDonald's has earned. While I'm not ready to suggest that the stock is cheap, with the company due to report earnings on Monday, now is as good a time as any to add to an existing long position.

The Street will be looking for McDonald's to report earnings-per-share of $1.51 on revenue of $7.34 billion, which would represent revenue growth of 2.6%. As noted, Yum! Brands' results, which included a 3% year-over-year revenue decline due (in part) to weak performance in China, don't bode well for McDonald's.