As a $101 billion company, it's no surprise that there's plenty of retail and institutional interest in food and beverage behemoth PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP). Nonetheless, I was surprised to find out that last year Pepsi was the No. 8 most-owned stock by investment clubs, as measured by the folks at Better Investing. If retail investors were so high on the stock, it got me to thinking: What's the consensus sentiment view on PepsiCo?

Turns out, the view is mixed. Let's have a look at a few key sentiment drivers.

1. Analyst opinion
Analysts believe in Pepsi. Data from Yahoo! Finance captures the love-fest:

Strong Buy








Strong Sell


With 15 buys or strong buys and zero sells, Pepsi is an overwhelming favorite of analysts.

2. Insider buying
The insider buy/sell picture is less bullish. Over the past year, PepsiCo insiders have sold $97 million worth of their company stock. During the same time period, insiders did not buy a single share of PepsiCo. (Data from Form4Oracle.) While insiders sell stocks for a whole host of reasons, the trend here isn't positive: Insider selling far outweighs insider buying.

Interestingly, while insiders haven't done any buying, last year the Pepsi board of directors approved a large buyback campaign.

3. Guru buying
Next, we'll look at "guru" ownership of the stock. According to GuruFocus, gurus are mixed on Pepsi. Noted fund manager Don Yacktman was a big buyer in the last quarter, but in the quarter ended Sept. 30, Michael Price and Arnold Van Den Berg sold out of their Pepsi positions, while George Soros and Ken Fisher decreased their stakes.

I'll classify the overall guru trend, then, as bearish-to-neutral.

4. Retail investor community sentiment
For retail investor community sentiment, I turn to Motley Fool CAPS, our proprietary stock rating system. CAPS generates ratings on a one- to five-star scale, with five stars as the highest ranking, indicating that the Fool community believes in a stock's future. PepsiCo has a respectable four-star rating in CAPS.

5. Short-sellers
Next we'll look at whether short-sellers are circling the stock. There are 7.8 million Pepsi shares sold short, according to Capital IQ. As a percentage of shares outstanding, that's a short interest of 0.5%. That's not very high -- a struggling operator like Barnes & Noble has a short interest of 14.1% right now -- and so for determining sentiment, we'll take it as a good sign.

6. Does Buffett own it?
This is the "cherry on top" test, and in Pepsi's case, it's a no: Berkshire Hathaway does not own shares. (Berkshire is the largest shareholder of Pepsi's rival Coca-Cola.)

Adding it up
Pepsi is liked by analysts and the CAPS community, and short-sellers aren't betting against the stock in a significant way. On top of that, the company has authorized a large multi-year buyback program. However, fund manager "gurus" have mostly been reducing their position in the company (Don Yacktman being the exception), and insiders haven't been buying any shares. The company doesn't pass the "does Buffett own it?" test, either. Still, add it all up and Pepsi comes out a stock with a mostly bullish aura.

Of course, you can't base an investment philosophy on who likes the stock you like, and a consensus opinion can sometimes be a scary thing. Quoting Buffett: "A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful." There's hardly a "greedy" sense surrounding Pepsi right now, though.

The purpose of this exercise wasn't to make a definitive buy-or-sell call on Pepsi. Rather, by looking at a stock's sentiment, the goal is to help you place your own opinion of it in a broader context. (Here's my look at GE's sentiment.)

One final thing: If you want to keep tabs on Pepsi's movements, and for more analysis on Pepsi, make sure you add it to your watchlist.