Pepsi Fizzes on Wall Street

13 December 2005

After more than a century of arch-rivalry with the Coca-Cola Company, soft drinks giant PepsiCo has finally become flavor of the day on the US stock market.

For the first time in 112 years Pepsi, headquartered in New York state, yesterday (Monday) overtook Coke in market capitalization, reaching $98.4 billion (€82.21bn; £55.47bn). Its shares have risen 14% this year, while its Atlanta-based rival has seen its stock value fall by 1.2%, depressing the company's worth to $97.9bn.

The shift reflects Wall Street's taste for Pepsi's diversified portfolio of beverage and snack brands, including Gatorade sports drinks and Tropicana juice with which it has responded to consumer disaffection with sugary, fizzy drinks.

Coke has come to the party late with its development of Minute Maid juices, Powerade sports drinks and Dasani bottled water, and is still running to catch up with Pepsi's non-carbonated brands.

Comments Caroline Levy, UBS beverage analyst: "Pepsi recognized much earlier than Coke that carbonated soft-drink trends were at risk and that they needed to pursue non-carbs as well as snacks."

Adds John Faucher, JPMorgan beverage analyst: "Coke needs to worry about getting its business on track, launching non-carbonated products and creating sustainable brands, not worry about where its market cap is compared to Pepsi."

Data sourced from Financial Times online and USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff