Fast food sales slow in China

October 22, 2012: 2:29 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

China took a bite out of junk food in the third quarter.

Last week, Coca-Cola (KO) said that sales in China grew an anemic 2% compared to 11% a year ago. Shares of the world's largest beverage company lost more than 2% for the week.

China's love affair with fried chicken also took a hit. KFC parent Yum Brands (YUM), which also owns the Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands, saw same-store sales growth in China decline to 6% from 19% last year.

It was more sour news for the world's biggest fast food chain McDonald's (MCD). The company posted its worst quarterly restaurant sales growth in 9 years, sending shares more than 4% lower.

The company didn't break out China sales, but said sales at restaurants open for at least one year in the Asia/Pacific region increased a meager 1.4%.

The outlook doesn't look any better for the fourth quarter, according McDonald's CEO Don Thompson. said

"Global economies remain challenging and our comparable sales for October are currently trending negative," he said on a conference call.

The disappointing numbers are likely a result of the slowdown that's been slamming the Chinese economy. Last week, the National Bureau of Statistics said that China's economy slowed last quarter to its lowest level since early 2009.

Manufacturing has continued to slump and the country's equity markets have also taken a hit. The Shanghai Composite is on track for its third straight annual decline.

Related: Candidates talk tough on China

Across the board, analysts say that companies with multinational exposure to Asia have been reporting weaker earnings.

"What we've seen is that those companies that are more U.S. focused have surprised on the upside, and those that have more of a more global bent have had more difficulties," said Paul Zemsky, chief investment officer at ING Investment Management.

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