McDonald’s (MCD) Declines, and Chinese Economic Data Weak

Bourbon & Bayonets / Monday, March 10th, 2014

Markets were headed lower on Monday after China released weak economic data. The General Administration of Customs reported that there was a surprising drop of 18.1% in exports for the country. This sank much lower than the 6.8% gain that economists were expecting. This drop followed a 10.6% gain in January. Imports were up 10.1%, which brought a $23 million trade deficit for the month. In January there was a surplus of $32 billion. When combining January and February’s data and comparing it to this time last year, there was a 1.6% decline this year. Li Heng, an economist with Minsheng Securities, said, “February export numbers were a surprise on the downside, and even combined January-February numbers were below market expectations. The data shows that the economy faces relatively big downward pressure and macro-policies need to be loosened a bit.”

Shares of McDonald’s (MCD) were trading lower after the company announced that their sales fell in February. The company said that sales were down 1.4% at established chains in the U.S. The company partially attributed the decline to the bad weather but also a “challenging industry dynamic.” With increasing competition from places like Chipotle and Five Guys Burgers and Fries they are fighting to hold onto customers. The next step in trying to regain ground with consumers will be improving the image of their food and create a better menu to keep up with eating habits. They are beginning to test out concepts like “build-your-own-burger” in places like Southern California. McDonald’s is in the beginning stages of implementing new prep tables at over 14,000 of their restaurants in the U.S. Jeff Stratton, president for McDonald’s USA, said, “A long time ago, mass appeal had to be mass appeal. That’s not necessarily the case anymore today.”

Chrysler announced that they would be recalling 25,250 vehicles due to a break problem. The recall will affect both Jeep and Dodge sport utility vehicles sold throughout the world. The models affected are the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango that were made between 2012 and 2013. There were roughly 18,700 sold in the U.S., 825 in Canada, 520 in Mexico and about 5,200 sold outside of North America. The reason for the recall is to improve the feel of the brake pedal in particular breaking situations. Chrysler said that during an investigation they found that the flow of brake fluid was restricted during certain times, which was causing the problem. They have updated the software to improve this and will fix the issue on all vehicles. There have been no reported accidents due to the issue.

That’s all for the day

All the best,

Jack Aubrey
Normandy Research

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