Golden Arches at New Peak

Some strategists foresee more upside for McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) ahead of its quarterly earnings report next week.

Specifically, its forward price-earnings ratio has come down from its mid-2016 peaks, and is now more in line with its recent average, said one of those strategists.

Moreover, the stock offers one of the highest dividend yields in the consumer discretionary sector — nearly 3%. Another positive element, she continued, is the company's recent organizational and leadership changes.

Last month, the company announced that by the middle of next year, it will serve fresh beef prepared when ordered, in all Quarter Pounder burgers across the majority of its restaurants. The fresh beef burgers, cooked right when ordered, are the latest step the company has made to meet customers' changing expectations.

While revenue is expected to decline over the next three years, margins are projected to increase, leading to higher earnings growth. The company is expecting 8% earnings growth for 2017 and 2018.

Friday, BMO Capital initiated coverage on the stock with a buy rating

A group of 31 McDonald's franchisees stateside said in a recent survey that they expect same-store sales at their respective locations to have grown 0.8% in the first quarter.

Stock in the restaurant chain beneath the Golden Arches hit a new all-time high Thursday of $133.44 U.S., before closing business for the day at $133.27.

The stock is up more than 9% year to date; analysts on average give McDonald's an overweight rating with a slightly bullish $136.58 U.S. target price