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Atlantic Equities says buy McDonald’s, a ‘defensive value play’ as consumer spending slows

Now is the time to buy McDonald ‘s, a defensive name to ride out slowing consumer spending, according to Atlantic Equities. Analyst Edward Lewis upgraded the fast-food giant to overweight, saying in a note to clients Wednesday that the company is “more than just a defensive value-play” and a leader in the global quick-service restaurant space. “As the global consumer softens, companies who operate resilient business models and also have a wealth of experience at managing through such challenging periods come to the fore,” Lewis wrote. “McDonald’s is such a name with a dominant position in the global QSR category, which has remained resilient during periods of consumer softness, and decades of experience at managing through such periods across what is now a stable of > 40k units.” Lewis cited McDonald’s drive toward digitization among his reasons for liking the stock and highlighted opportunities for the fast-food chain in its international division. With a potential recession on the horizon, he also anticipates McDonald’s will take share and improve margins as it did during The Great Recession thanks to its royalties and rent revenue streams. Along with the upgrade, Atlantic Equities raised its price target on McDonald’s to $278 a share, which implies a potential 14% upside from Tuesday’s close. Shares of McDonald’s have fallen more than 9% this year and are trading about 10% off their 52-week high. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting

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