Foreign Sales Boost McDonald's

First-quarter profits are up 24 percent.

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If the U.S. economy is going to avoid recession—or at least avoid a deep recession—its savior may be sales abroad. The latest company thanking its lucky stars for a strong international presence is McDonald's, which announced today that its first-quarter profits soared 24 percent. Double-digit gains in overseas sales were a key growth factor, and since the chain earned euros and other currencies that gained in value against the dollar, McDonald's got an added kick from the weak greenback.

The fast-food giant earned $946.1 million in January through March, compared with $762.4 million in the same period in 2007. Another company citing global sales as the key to its success is DuPont, which reported a 26 percent increase in profits in the first quarter.

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