Better Buy: Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi

Which of these high-yield dividend stocks is the better investment today?

The beverage industry has long been fertile ground for dividend investors. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and Pepsi (NASDAQ:PEP) have delivered steadily rising cash payouts and solid total returns to investors for decades. And with each company's stock currently yielding about 3.5%, they remain popular options for income-focused investors.

But which of these dividend stalwarts is the better buy now? Let's find out.

Competitive positioning

Coca-Cola and Pepsi dominate the $200 billion global soft drink and bottled water manufacturing industry. Recently, Coca-Cola has been gaining soda market share, with Coke Zero Sugar and Diet Coke enjoying solid sales gains in the first quarter.

However, overall soda sales have declined steadily for much of the past decade -- a trend that's likely to continue for the foreseeable future. More and more people are turning away from high-sugar drinks, as well as those containing artificial sweeteners, which has dented sales of Coke and Pepsi and their diet versions.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi have diversified their beverage product lineups in response to these trends. They've invested heavily in tea, juice, and bottled water, which has helped offset declines in their core soda businesses.

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