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McDonald's stock surges on profit rise

CHICAGO -- McDonald's Corp.'s sales resurgence carried it to better-than-expected profits this spring, the company said yesterday -- a disclosure that sent its stock up sharply.

Based on preliminary numbers, the fast-food giant anticipates it will easily surpass Wall Street's forecast with earnings of about 47 cents a share when it reports second-quarter results July 22.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had pegged earnings at 44 cents a share.

McDonald's reported a 7.8 percent jump in sales from established restaurants during the April-through-June period -- the biggest year-over-year increase for the second quarter since 1987.

President and chief executive Charlie Bell cited success with newly introduced salads in Europe and the beginning of a music download promotion as contributing to the upswing.

''This steady business momentum is what we planned to achieve when we launched our revitalization initiatives in early 2003," he said.

The news sent McDonald's shares for the first time back to the April 19 trading level when chief executive Jim Cantalupo died. His back-to-basics approach had helped prompt a yearlong resurgence of the company's sales and stock. Shares jumped $1.11, or 4.2 percent, to close at $27.79 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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