Pepsi is your classic safe haven stock for a weak economy.
With brands such as its flagship Pepsi soft drinks as well as Gatorade and Quaker under its wing, the company is a leader in the North American food and beverage market. But it is also well-positioned to expand internationally.
"Long-term international opportunities coupled with its dominant market positions in North America strengthen the company's already best-in-class position," wrote analyst Jonathan Feeney of Wachovia in a report.
The company's steady cash flow has allowed it to invest heavily in overseas growth, Feeney said.
Shares of Pepsi trade at about 19 times 2008 year-end estimates, in line with the valuation for its top rival Coca Cola. But Pepsi's earnings are expected to grow at a faster clip over the next few years.
Pepsi pays a dividend that yields an attractive 2.1%. That's a tad lower than Coke's 2.3% yield, but Pepsi's dividend payout has increased 20% a year, on average, over the past five years, compared to annual dividend growth of 11% for Coke.
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