McDonald’s is synonymous with fast food, but the company has really upped its game in recent years, offering more quality food. The public company is primarily a franchisor, earning royalties from tens of thousands of McDonald’s locations in about 120 countries. The company reported a profit of nearly $7.1 billion in 2021, and fourth-quarter revenue rose 13.8% year over year, the highest growth ever.
If you’re considering buying McDonald’s stock, here’s how and what you need to know before you decide.
1. Analysis of McDonald’s and its financials
Analyzing a company’s competitive position and financial health can be the hardest part of buying stocks, but it’s also the most important. The best place to start is the company’s Form 10-K, which is the annual report that all public companies must file with the SEC.
The 10-K can help you learn a lot about the company:
- How does it make money and how much
- its assets and liabilities
- Its profitability develops over time
- Competitive Landscape
- Various risks faced by the company
- Managing teams and how to motivate them
An annual report is an important first step to learning more about your company, but you want to do more than that. You should check what other companies are doing to compete as it is important to have a broader view of the industry.
McDonald’s, for example, operates in the highly competitive fast-food segment, competing with well-known rivals such as Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC and Chick-fil-A. In addition to coffee and breakfast, McDonald’s competes with Starbucks and Dunkin’ for breakfast. In recent years, Golden Arches has introduced all-day breakfast to keep up with some competitors, who often use advertising campaigns and new product launches to retain customers.
2. Does McDonald’s make sense in your portfolio?
McDonald’s is one of 30 stocks on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, making it a blue chip and one of the most popular stocks for investors. While McDonald’s seems to be everywhere, it still has room to expand, which means the company has the potential to continue growing. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, however, and companies have to adapt to changing consumer habits.
So you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you understand the business and its future prospects?
- Can you continue to analyze it as your business and industry evolves?
- Do you understand the value of the company and how it compares to the current market value?
- McDonald’s Pays a Dividend – Does It Fit Your Needs?
If you’re just buying a little McDonald’s as an entry location, or have more impact on the game, these considerations may not be as important as a full location.
3. How much investment can you afford?
How much you can afford to invest has less to do with McDonald’s and more to do with your personal financial situation. Stocks can be volatile. So, to give your investment time to pay off, you should be able to keep your money in stocks for at least three to five years. This means you should be able to live without money for at least that long.
It’s important to commit to holding the stock for at least three to five years. You hate having to sell a stock when it’s nearing a bottom, only to see it bounce higher after you exit your position. By sticking to a long-term plan, you can ride out the ups and downs of the stock.
If you invest in individual stocks, you should probably keep the percentage of each individual position between 3% and 5%. That way, you’re not seriously exposed to investments that wreck your portfolio. You can choose a lower percentage than this range if the stock has a higher business risk.
Also, don’t just invest a lump sum of money in stocks, but consider how you can add money to the position over time.
4. Open a brokerage account
While opening a brokerage account may sound difficult, it is actually quite simple and you can have it all set up in about 15 minutes.
You should choose a broker that suits your needs. Do you trade often or rarely? Do you need a high level of service or research? Is cost the most important factor for you? If you buy a small amount of stocks but invest primarily in funds, some brokers offer commission-free trading exclusively for those funds.
After opening an account, you should deposit sufficient funds to purchase McDonald’s stock. But you can do this completely online, and it’s easy.
5. Buy McDonald’s stock
Once you decide to buy McDonald’s stock and open and fund your brokerage account, you can place your order. When entering your order, please use the company’s ticker symbol – MCD.
Most brokers have a “trade ticket” at the bottom of every page so you can enter your order. On the broker’s order, enter the code and how many shares you can afford. Then enter the order type: market or limit. A market order buys a stock regardless of the current price, while a limit order is only executed when the stock reaches the price you set.
If you’re just buying a few shares — McDonald’s has gone from $235 to around $252 in the past year — you’re sticking to the market order. Even if you pay more for a market order now, if the stock continues to perform well, it won’t have much of an impact on long-term performance.
Buying stocks can be exciting, but success doesn’t happen overnight. Investors should take a long-term view of their investments, and if they believe the stock is long-term, they should consider using dollar cost averages.
With dollar average cost, investors add a certain amount of money to their positions over time, which really helps when the stock falls and allows them to buy more. High-flying stocks can fall from time to time, so this strategy can help you get lower purchase prices and higher overall profits.