March Goes In Like a Lion and Out With Impressive Housing Numbers; McDonald’s Earnings: Not Lovin’ It; Why Chipotle’s Not Very Chipper Today

Single homes, town homes, and condos, oh my!

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Don’t you just love it when good things happen in the economy? Today’s bearer of fiscal sunshine is brought to us by the folks over at the National Association of Realtors who have been very busy calculating some delightful numbers from March’s existing home sales. And wouldn’t ya know it? Sales of previously owned homes picked up well over 6%.That, number, by the way, is more than a 10% increase over the same time last year.  If that doesn’t put a smile on your Wednesday, than I don’t what does. Because there was so much more inventory and lots more from which to choose, 5.19 million transactions of several different types of abodes took place, definitely shadowing February’s underwhelming 4.89 million figure. March’s existing sales, believe it or not (though, why wouldn’t you), hit its highest levels in 18 months. Curious what the median price for a home was in March? How does $212,000 sound? If you don’t like it than you should have tried buying a house a year earlier because that $212,000 is a 7.8% increase over last year’s $196,700 median price tag.

Losing its luster…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDgitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDgitalPhotos.net

The numbers are in for the Golden Arches and well, and it ain’t pretty. After announcing yet another quarter of disappointing earnings, the stock actually went up today. That’s because McDonalds CEO Steve Easterbrook announced that on May 4 he will unveil initial details of a plan that ought to turn the tides of fiscal woe at the world’s biggest burger chain. McDonald’s needs it now, more than ever, as chains like Chipotle and Taco Bell also announced earnings that McDonald’s would kill for right about now. While a shortage of pork and a bummer of a winter did some damage to Chipotle, its earnings still  managed to climb over 10%. As for Taco Bell, who has been taking digs at McDonald’s in an effort to boost its breakfast offerings, saw a 6% increase in its earnings. All this while McDonald’s pulled in a whopper of a failure (no offense, Burger King) coming in with earnings of $812 million and 84 cents a share. But wait a minute, the chain made money, so what’s the problem? The problem is that last year at this time, McDonald’s made way more money, like 32.6% more. Like $1.2 billion worth adding $1.21 to its shares. But as of late, McDonald’s numbers just keep going down. To be fair, 9 cents of that loss can be blamed on the strong U.S. dollar. But the rest of the losses belong all to McDonalds.

Speaking of Chipotle…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Chipotle, which has been happily stealing a nice chunk of McDonald’s clientele with its more wholesome offerings, could find itself in a similar pickle as the Golden Arches. While the Mexican Grill did do much better than McDonald’s, the chain still missed analysts’ estimates. Then to add hot sauce to the fiscal wound, the chain anticipates continued “rolling blackouts” until the end of the year, due to a shortage of pork, an essential ingredient in its beloved carnitas. Naturally, the news sent shares of the stock down over 8% at one point. Shares of the company, that has about 1,800 restaurants, are hovering around $640. Yes, per share.

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