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Southern Co. (SO) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

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Southern Co. (SO - Free Report) closed the most recent trading day at $47.33, moving +1.7% from the previous trading session. The stock outpaced the S&P 500's daily gain of 0.82%. At the same time, the Dow added 0.79%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.79%.

Coming into today, shares of the power company had gained 3.65% in the past month. In that same time, the Utilities sector gained 3.65%, while the S&P 500 gained 3.94%.

Wall Street will be looking for positivity from SO as it approaches its next earnings report date. This is expected to be February 20, 2019. In that report, analysts expect SO to post earnings of $0.24 per share. This would mark a year-over-year decline of 52.94%. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $5.35 billion, down 4.88% from the year-ago period.

For the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates are projecting earnings of $3.03 per share and revenue of $23.21 billion, which would represent changes of +0.33% and +0.76%, respectively, from the prior year.

Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for SO. These recent revisions tend to reflect the evolving nature of short-term business trends. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company's business outlook.

Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. Investors can capitalize on this by using the Zacks Rank. This model considers these estimate changes and provides a simple, actionable rating system.

The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 0.56% higher. SO currently has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

Digging into valuation, SO currently has a Forward P/E ratio of 15.35. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 18.69, which means SO is trading at a discount to the group.

Also, we should mention that SO has a PEG ratio of 3.41. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock's expected earnings growth rate. SO's industry had an average PEG ratio of 3.46 as of yesterday's close.

The Utility - Electric Power industry is part of the Utilities sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 100, which puts it in the top 39% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank includes is listed in order from best to worst in terms of the average Zacks Rank of the individual companies within each of these sectors. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

You can find more information on all of these metrics, and much more, on Zacks.com.




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