Tuesday's results from Coca-Cola were enough to make some investors queasy. That should be a cue to start reading the ingredients more closely.
Coca-Cola shares fell 6 percent Tuesday after the company announced disappointing third-quarter results and lowered its long-term sales outlook. The company now expects to generate mid-single-digit annual revenue growth through 2020, a slight decline from the previous target of 5 percent to 6 percent.
That revision may have surprised some investors who look at Coca-Cola as a rock-solid investment. After all, the company is Warren Buffett's second-largest holding and the Coca-Cola brand is one of the most recognizable in the world. Conventional wisdom suggests the company will ride out any short-term weakness.
But anyone watching the company's fundamentals would have noticed hints of problems that could last. For the last couple of years, Wall Street estimates have declined steadily. At the start of 2013, analysts expected Coca-Cola to generate $57 billion of sales in 2015, versus $48 billion today.