Were Coke Drinkers Less Thirsty Last Quarter?

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) — the world’s largest soft drink manufacturer — saw soda drinkers down fewer cans in the fourth quarter than analysts expected.

Profit increased modestly during the three-month period, helped along by growth in emerging markets. Net income rose to $1.9 billion, or 41 cents a share, from $1.8 billion, or 39 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. But revenue increased just 3.9 percent to $11.46 billion. In comparison, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected $11.53 billion.

While worldwide sales grew 3 percent, the results from individual regions were mixed. Coca-Cola’s most profitable market, North America, experienced a sales increase of 6 percent, and income rose 12 percent. Sales in Eurasia and Africa rose 5 percent, with income up 18 percent. In Latin American, sales gained 8 percent as income increased 10 percent. Pacific sales dropped 1 percent, but income rose 11 percent. However in Europe, sales fell by 6 percent, pushed down by weak consumer confidence, bad weather, and discounting…

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