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What Does Coke Know That Pepsi Doesn't?

Yesterday, shares of PepsiCo. got hammered when the company a) missed third-quarter earnings estimates, b) revised down its remaining 2008 estimates and c) refused to provide 2009 guidance.

Today, the soda king, Coca-Cola, reported third-quarter profit is up 14 percent, thanks largely to the spread of Coke through emerging markets.

"Our brands and our business were built for times like these," chief executive Muhtar Kent said on a conference call with investors. "We are clearly in uncharted territory in these global markets."

It seems clear: The rest of the world has made a choice on carbonated beverages, and that choice is Coke.

Coke showed particularly strong growth in China, Turkey, India, Pakistan and Nigeria, the company said today.

The company also saw big growth in its non-bubbly beverages, such as VitaminWater.

Like Pepsi, which got hurt by flagging U.S. sales, Coke's U.S. sales were down, but only by 1 percent, which was better than expected.

In early trading, shares of Coke are up 6 percent. Super-investor Warren E. Buffett, a Post Co. director, is Coke's largest shareholder.

-- Frank Ahrens

By Frank Ahrens  |  October 15, 2008; 11:03 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  
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