While Coke's profits hinge on several variables, including commodity costs and currency, its overarching story -- international expansion -- makes it a stable option. "Eighty percent of their earnings now come from beverages sold outside of the U.S.," says Gentry Lee, an analyst at Fayez Sarofim & Co. "As per capita consumption increases around the world, Coke will benefit."
One lingering question is whether the company should follow Pepsi's tack and attempt to acquire its bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises. Coke's formerly contentious relationship with its bottler has improved, but the jury is still out on whether or not it should take the purchasing plunge. "There are plusses and minuses to merging," says Lee. "Coke has a different relationship with its bottler, so the rationale isn't the same."