McDonald's sales

An employee hands a drive-thru customer his order at a McDonald's Corp. restaurant in Oak Brook. (Tim Boyle/Bloomberg file photo / April 15, 2014)

A Wall Street analyst's survey of McDonald's franchisees suggests that the world' largest restaurant chain may have seen sales rebound at U.S. locations in March, though weak sales in the first quarter overall could lead to some pressure on profits.

McDonald's has posted four consecutive months of declining U.S. same-store sales, or sales at U.S. locations open at least 13 months.

The company is set to report its March sales results on April 22, along with its first-quarter earnings report. Janney analyst Mark Kalinowski on Tuesday released results of a proprietary survey of 27 U.S. franchisees representing 219 McDonald's locations.

Based on that survey, he now expects McDonald's March U.S. same-store sales rose 0.6 percent. That is well above the figure of a 0.3 percent drop according to Consensus Metrix, which tracks analysts’ expectations.

Kalinowski lowered his April same-store sales expectations based on the survey. He said that he now expects April U.S. same-store sales to rise 1.5 percent instead of 2 percent and said the Consensus Metrix expectation is for just a 0.3 percent increase.

The analyst cut his first-quarter earnings per share estimate by 3 cents to $1.25, bringing his 2014 earnings per share estimate down to $5.82. He cited the weak first-quarter sales in general, along with shifts in currency exchange rates.

He did not change his estimates for the second, third or fourth quarters. Kalinowski also lowered his 2015 earnings per share forecast, by 6 cents per share, to $6.34.

Kalinowski has a neutral rating on shares of McDonald's, which rose 82 cents to $100.11 on Monday.

McDonald's did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the analyst' report.