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Southern Co. (SO) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

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In the latest trading session, Southern Co. (SO - Free Report) closed at $51.40, marking a +0.98% move from the previous day. The stock lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 1.47%. Meanwhile, the Dow gained 0.79%, and the Nasdaq, a tech-heavy index, added 2.02%.

Prior to today's trading, shares of the power company had gained 3.54% over the past month. This has outpaced the Utilities sector's gain of 2.2% and the S&P 500's gain of 1.5% in that time.

Wall Street will be looking for positivity from SO as it approaches its next earnings report date. In that report, analysts expect SO to post earnings of $0.74 per share. This would mark a year-over-year decline of 15.91%.

Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $3.03 per share and revenue of $22.05 billion. These totals would mark changes of -1.3% and -6.14%, respectively, from last year.

It is also important to note the recent changes to analyst estimates for SO. These revisions help to show the ever-changing nature of near-term business trends. With this in mind, we can consider positive estimate revisions a sign of optimism about the company's business outlook.

Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. We developed the Zacks Rank to capitalize on this phenomenon. Our system takes these estimate changes into account and delivers a clear, actionable rating model.

The Zacks Rank system ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell). It has a remarkable, outside-audited track record of success, with #1 stocks delivering an average annual return of +25% since 1988. The Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 0.62% higher within the past month. SO is holding a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) right now.

Investors should also note SO's current valuation metrics, including its Forward P/E ratio of 16.81. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 19.23, which means SO is trading at a discount to the group.

Investors should also note that SO has a PEG ratio of 3.73 right now. 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 3.47 as of yesterday's close.

The Utility - Electric Power industry is part of the Utilities sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 84, putting it in the top 33% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

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