Beverage stocks with fizz

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Beverage Digest estimates that U.S. soda sales rose 1.4 percent to $77.4 billion in 2014, and the upward trend likely will continue for the next few years, says John Sicher, who is the trade publication’s editor and publisher.  

PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP; Price: $96.11) hopes that the launch of Diet Pepsi that’s sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium instead of the controversial aspartame will continue to juice sales. “There is a subset of consumers who may be attracted to a diet soda without aspartame,” Sicher says of its August 2015 launch.

Pepsi and market co-leader Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO; Price: $40.55) remain good investments, says independent financial planner Eve Kaplan. That’s because of their value, dividends and expected growth from emerging markets over the next several years, she says.

The mean analyst rating on Coke and Pepsi are “Buy,” according to Zacks Investment Research.

—D. Alter