NEW YORK — Shares of PepsiCo Inc. fell for a third straight day Thursday to their lowest level since January after an analyst's downgrade led to concerns about the company's restaurant business.
Mark Cohen of Goldman, Sachs & Co. removed Pepsi from his recommended list, saying he expects disappointing sales to continue at the company's Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains.
Last month, Pepsi said second-quarter sales at its restaurants declined 2% from a year ago. Sales at Pizza Hut restaurants open at least a year fell 13%, while sales at Taco Bell stores open at least a year were off less than 1%.
Comparisons of outlets open at least a year, known as same-store sales, are considered the most accurate assessment of a restaurant's performance.
KFC was the lone bright spot with an 11% rise in same-store sales.
"They can't seem to get all their restaurants to fire on all cylinders at the same time," said Mitchell H. Pinheiro, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott Inc. in Philadelphia.
Pepsi spokesman Richard Detwiler Jr. said the company expects third-quarter profits at Pizza Hut and Taco Bell to be down, but wouldn't give a projection on sales.
Analysts said Pepsi's recent problems in Latin America have contributed to the stock's weakness on Wall Street.
Less than two weeks ago, Pepsi was left unable to produce soft drinks in Venezuela after the country's biggest bottler, the Cisneros Group, abruptly defected to Coca-Cola Co. Pepsi had previously outsold Coke by 4 to 1 in Venezuela.
In addition, Pepsi's bottling partner in Argentina recently announced it won't be able to pay interest or principal on its bank debt through Oct. 15.
Pepsi stock fell $1.375 to $28.625 on the New York Stock Exchange.