How to buy McDonald’s shares

McDonald’s is a globally recognised brand which coped with the dramatic global shifts of the pandemic better than most restaurants. Use this handy guide to find out what the future holds.
By: James Knight
James Knight
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed,… read more.
Updated: May 19, 2021
Tip: our preferred broker is, eToro: visit & create account

This guide gives you an overview of McDonald’s, its history, and its recent performance as an investment. You can also read on to find out the main things you’ll want to look out for before investing in the stock market.

Compare the best McDonald’s trading platform

If you have all the information you need about McDonald’s, you can get some shares by visiting one of our trusted brokers below. We’ve assessed all the best platforms and compared them so that making the right choice for you is quick and easy. Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about the company.

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How to buy McDonald’s stock, a step-by-step guide

Use this simple five-step guide to make your first stock market move. The process isn’t complicated, so don’t worry even if you’re completely new to investing.

  1. Choose a broker. The first thing you need to find is an online broker platform. There are many different options to choose from, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. The comparison table above can help you select the right broker for you, and you can head to our comprehensive broker reviews if you’re still unsure.
  2. Create an account. Once you’ve selected your broker, simply go to their website and create an account. The steps required for this will vary from platform to platform, but generally, you can expect to have to provide your name, email address, phone number, and some form of photo identification.
  3. Deposit funds. Log into your broker account and select the option to deposit funds. Depending on your broker you’ll have a variety of payment options available; most brokers accept bank transfers and debit card payments, but not all accept e-wallets such as PayPal. Select your preferred payment method and deposit the amount of money you wish to invest in McDonald’s shares.
  4. Place an order for MCD stock. Search for MCD’s ticker symbol (MCD) and see the current price at which the stock is trading. If you’re happy with the price, enter the amount of shares you wish to own and place your order.
  5. Execute your order. Once you have placed your order, your broker will automatically execute it for you and your MCD shares will be listed in your account. Congratulations, you’ve just bought shares in McDonald’s!

What is McDonald’s? And should I invest?

McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) is an American fast food company and one of the most recognisable brands in the world. It is the largest restaurant chain and second largest employer, with restaurants in more than 100 countries. It was formed in 1940 and generally runs its business by owning the real estate its restaurants operate in, while franchising out the actual day to day running of the restaurants themselves.

MCD is quite a pricey investment, trading above $200 a share, which may put off investors with a smaller budget. It does however offer a reliable dividend in return for that high price outlay and in recent years has offered significant price growth as well. 

The fast food chain is adapting to a changing dining environment, with a much more digital and delivery-based focus and to pressures to make its food healthier in the midst of a growing obesity crisis. Although these changes present some risk, only enhanced by the pandemic and its aftermath, it also offers up opportunities for MCD and its investors.

How has the company performed in recent years?

The overall trend for MCD over the past five years is up, even despite the pandemic and lockdowns across the world. It includes the company’s most successful era in terms of stock market growth, helped along by good performance by its international divisions outside the US in particular. It has also been an era of cost-cutting, as MCD has used new technology to simplify ordering and reduce its labour costs.

It hasn’t been a completely smooth ride. Late in 2019, MCD parted ways with its former CEO Steve Easterbrook and subsequently sued him after he was discovered to have had inappropriate relationships with employees. Easterbrook’s moves to modernise restaurants, through more order screens, online ordering and expanding the breakfast menu had been popular with investors and his abrupt departure was a bump in the road for the share price. It was one that was quickly overcome, however, at least until the onset of the pandemic.

That pandemic led to a brief plunge to $148, its lowest price for three years. Although the pandemic as a whole was a devastating blow to the restaurant sector, MCD was able to cope better than most thanks to its many drive-thrus, delivery options and the fact it already had an emphasis on takeaway meals. 

All those factors helped its restaurants stay open and operating, at least in some capacity, throughout the year. The recovery was so successful that its price made it back, and briefly above, an all-time high of $230 before being dragged down a little by further lockdowns that affected its European markets.

Is it a good time to buy McDonald’s shares now?

McDonald’s ability to deal with the pandemic highlighted its flexibility in comparison with many other restaurants and its ongoing technology improvements and plans to cut costs are positive signs. It protected many of its franchisees during the worst of the pandemic by deferring rent, which was a move with an eye on the long-term future. 

Investors will want to focus on how quickly European countries, in particular, are able to open up again fully post-pandemic, which would allow MCD’s restaurants to resume operating at full capacity and enable them to begin increasing revenues again.

Another area to keep in mind is whether new laws on healthy eating, as well as food advertising, are in the offing that might affect MCD’s bottom line. The UK is already planning to introduce bans on advertising snack food at peak times and how fast-food companies like MCD are able to avoid falling foul of those new restrictions is something to look out for. 

Longer-term investors will also want to track MCD’s continuing modernisation. As fast food is such a small margin industry, the more it is able to cut costs the better in terms of generating revenue. You can do this using the links below, where you’ll find all the latest MCD news as well as our market analysis.

McDonald’s shares advanced after the company reported better than expected first-quarter results and closed the week at $236,08. Fundamental analysis: UBS raised its price target from $240 to $255 Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, this company’s business is going well, and McDonald’s reported better than expected first-quarter results last week.
McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD) shares have weakened from $218 below $207 since the beginning of December, and the current price stands around $208. Shares of McDonald’s could be a good investment option, but now is not the best time to buy this stock because it could weaken in the…
The US elections are closely watched, according to the latest news Biden is taking the lead in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona but the US presidential election continued to progress with a winner not yet officially announced. Shares of McDonald’s have advanced from $168 above $230 in less than six…

Buying, selling and trading McDonald’s shares for beginners

What to do before buying shares

You should always take the time to research a stock fully before investing your money, especially if you haven’t bought shares before. The more knowledge you have, the better your chances of making a wise investment. 

With that in mind, here’s a checklist to run through before you start.

  1. Research the company. You should always examine the fundamentals of a company. What is MCD? How did the company get its start? How did it grow? Is MCD’s revenue and profit growth picking up? Is the company innovating? The more you know about MCD, the better positioned you’ll be to make smart investment decisions.
  2. Make sure you understand the basics of stock investing. Before getting involved in the stock market, make sure you have an understanding of how it works. This will ensure that you have more clearly defined goals and have thought through how you will achieve them.
  3. Decide between share dealing and CFD trading. Choose the type of investment strategy you want to pursue, and make sure you have carried out the necessary fundamental or technical analysis for share dealing and CFD trading respectively.
  4. Set the size of your budget. The golden rule of investing is never to risk more than you can afford to lose. Not every investment you make will result in a profit, so it is important to set a budget that not only allows good potential for capital growth, but also protects against overly damaging losses.
  5. Find the right broker. Individual brokers each have their own pros and cons. Some will have low fees but have a user interface you struggle to understand, whereas others may be a bit more expensive but come with a range of features that you want to take advantage of. Our unbiased broker reviews can help you find the right platform for you.
  6. Examine broader market conditions. No stock exists in a vacuum, and it’s always important to analyse the general trends of the stock market as a whole before investing. If a bear market is setting in and stock prices are falling, it’s best to wait it out and invest your money later when the stock is cheaper. If, however, the market is looking bearish, you’ll want to make your investment quickly to get the maximum benefit from rising stock prices. The news segment of the Invezz website can help you keep on top of movements in the financial markets.

What is the difference between buying, selling, and trading shares?

If you’re new to stock investing, then it’s important to understand the basics of what you can do with McDonald’s shares. Here’s a quick run-through of what’s involved in each.

Buying McDonald’s

This process involves finding a broker and placing an order for McDonald’s stock, as outlined in the steps further up this page. Ideally you want to time your investment when the stock’s price is low so that you can profit by selling the shares after they increase in value.

Selling McDonald’s

When you sell any McDonald’s shares, you’ll want to do so at a higher price than the one at which you bought to earn a profit. 

When you sell is up to you. You might decide to hold onto your shares for an extended period of time, hoping to benefit from the company growing steadily throughout. Or, if you see that the stock is already up a lot compared to the price you bought it and you’ve noticed that the stock market is starting to fall, it might make sense to sell and take your profits to invest elsewhere. Equally, if the stock has fallen since you bought it and looks set to fall further, it might be a good idea to cut your losses by selling your shares.

Trading McDonald’s

Trading is the same process, it’s just done over shorter periods of time with the aim to make small profits on a regular basis. This means that you can make money faster and spend your profits in your day-to-day life – however, on the other side it means you can lose money faster as well. For inexperienced investors, we generally recommend making investments for at least 6 months to a year instead of making trades in quick succession.

You can trade MCD shares through buying and selling shares, or by trading with CFDs. These allow investors to speculate on stock prices and trade with leverage in pursuit of bigger gains. CFDs trading is explained further in the next section, but it is worth noting that beginners should avoid trading with leverage. It comes with large risks and is best left to experienced investors.

Share dealing vs CFD trading

When it comes to investing in any stock, the two options you have are share dealing and trading. Which one of these methods to opt for largely depends on your investment timeline, with investors thinking long-term tending to go for share dealing, and those looking for short term gains pursuing a more aggressive trading strategy.

Here’s a quick summary of the two approaches, and the pros and cons of each.

Share dealing 

Share dealing refers to the practice of holding shares in a particular company over the long term. When investing like this, you’re seeking to profit either from dividend payments or an increase in the stock’s price over time.

When investing your money this way, it is important to do thorough fundamental analysis of the company in which you are investing. You want to put your money in a stock you believe will trend upwards over time, even if there is some market volatility along the way, rather than get distracted by shorter-term peaks and troughs.

Pros

  • Can build wealth over time to achieve financial goals
  • Don’t need to be very reactive to short-term market movements
  • Some stocks will give you an income through recurrent dividends

Cons

  • Takes a long time to realise any profits
  • Your capital is tied up in stocks and cannot be used for other investments

CFD Trading 

If your aim is to generate profits in the short term, then you might be better off trading shares than holding them in your portfolio. Stock trades like this are executed using CFDs (contracts for difference), which allow investors to trade against the value of a stock without having to take ownership of it. When CFD trading, investors are looking to buy and sell stocks fast to profit from short-term fluctuations in value.

One aspect of CFD trading that many investors find attractive is that they allow you to trade with leverage. This means you can place large trades while only putting up a fraction of the value yourself – for instance, if a platform offered leverage of 1:10, you could put £10 into ZM shares and be able to trade £100 worth. This can maximise profits if the market moves in your favour, but be careful as it can also lead to heavy losses.

When trading using CFDs, it is key to be skilled at technical analysis and reading stock price charts. As you’re trading stocks quickly and frequently, the fundamental strength of the company in which you’re investing isn’t as important as being able to predict how its stock price will rise and fall minute-by-minute.

Pros

  • Can generate fast profits if you read the market right 
  • Some platforms allow you to trade with leverage
  • Prevents your capital being tied up so you can take advantage of investment opportunities

Cons

  • Trading with leverage is risky and can lead to big losses
  • Doesn’t necessarily generate growth over the long term

Consider which approach suits you best and craft an investment strategy that works for you. If you need more information, then simply take our stock trading course and read our guide to CFD trading to get you up to speed. 

How to choose a broker

With the wide variety of online brokers available these days, it can be hard to figure out which is the best service to go with. Our comparison table and in-depth reviews can help you cut through the noise, but by and large these are the aspects you should be considering when selecting a broker:

  • Range of stocks available. The most important thing is that you can actually get the shares you’re looking for. Some brokers offer more stocks than others, and many will allow you to trade other assets, such as forex and commodities.
  • Fees and commissions. You want to keep as large a chunk of your profits as you can, so it’s important to make sure your broker doesn’t charge high fees that can eat into your profits.
  • Regulation. You should only use regulated brokers to place trades. Unregulated brokers can be risky and offer little to no protection if the business were to fail while you had funds in your account.
  • Payment methods available. You might want to fund your account with a specific payment method, such as PayPal. Not all brokers accept every payment method, but using our comparisons you can search only the brokers that support the option you’re looking for.
  • Reputation. One of the strongest indicators of a broker’s reliability is the reputation it has with the customers who have used it. Brokers are online businesses, and as such many user experiences can be found online. You can check these out in addition to our reviews to make sure you choose the right platform.
  • Customer service. As you’re going to be investing your money using the platform, you want to check that the broker offers good customer service in case you have a query or something goes wrong.

Latest McDonald’s news

McDonald’s Corp (NYSE: MCD) officially launched its long-awaited loyalty program nationwide on Thursday. After more than six decades of customers showing their loyalty towards the ‘Golden Arches,’ the fast-food giant is ready to return the favor. Customers will soon be able to use the all-new MyMcDonald’s Rewards feature located…
On Tuesday, McDonald’s Corp (NYSE: MCD) said its U.S. loyalty programme will be officially launched nationwide on 8th July. McDonald’s opened at $233 per share in the stock market on Tuesday and slipped to $232 per share in the next hour. This compares to its year-to-date low of $205…
Fast-food chain stock Wendy’s Co. (NASDAQ:WEN) on Tuesday skyrocketed more than 25% to trade at $28.70 per share after becoming the latest victim of meme stock speculation. CNBC’s Mad Money host Jim Cramer immediately tweeted, saying the current WEN stock price is overvaluing the company. Wendy’s…

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Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >

James Knight
Financial writer
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed, rode, and ate an ostrich all on… read more.