Yum! Brands ( YUM) posted a 3% gain in December U.S. same-store sales led by its Taco Bell chain. The Kentucky-based restaurant company said international sales rose 7% on a local currency basis during the month ended Dec. 25. Sales grew by 9% in the year-ago period. The pace of U.S. sales growth was higher than that of the 2003 period. Taco Bell sales rose 5%, vs. 4% a year ago. Pizza Hut and KFF same-store sales each rose 1%, down from the 2003 period. Yum! reports quarterly earnings Feb. 1. Shares fell 36 cents, or 0.8%, to $46.82, less than $1 from their 52-week high touched last week.