McDonald's juggernaut continues as consumers trade down

Shares of McDonald's Corp. (MCD) are little changed over the past year, which in this dismal stock market is a performance that is nothing short of spectacular.

Nutritionists and foodies may howl but the American people are flocking to the Golden Arches in droves. Today the restaurant chain reported that global same-store sales rose 1.4 percent. But if you exclude the extra day in February 2008 because of leap year, sales rose 5.4 percent. In the United States, sales increased 2.8 percent (6.8 percent excluding the segment's calendar shift) helped by premium chicken sandwiches and its breakfast offerings.