The Utilities group has plenty of great stocks, but investors should always be looking for companies that are outperforming their peers. Southern (SO - Free Report) is a stock that can certainly grab the attention of many investors, but do its recent returns compare favorably to the sector as a whole? One simple way to answer this question is to take a look at the year-to-date performance of SO and the rest of the Utilities group's stocks.
Southern is one of 119 individual stocks in the Utilities sector. Collectively, these companies sit at #11 in the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank considers 16 different groups, measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the sector to gauge the strength of each group.
The Zacks Rank is a successful stock-picking model that emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions. The system highlights a number of different stocks that could be poised to outperform the broader market over the next one to three months. SO is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).
Over the past three months, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for SO's full-year earnings has moved 0.32% higher. This is a sign of improving analyst sentiment and a positive earnings outlook trend.
Our latest available data shows that SO has returned about 1.32% since the start of the calendar year. At the same time, Utilities stocks have gained an average of 0.10%. As we can see, Southern is performing better than its sector in the calendar year.
Looking more specifically, SO belongs to the Utility - Electric Power industry, a group that includes 65 individual stocks and currently sits at #166 in the Zacks Industry Rank. On average, this group has gained an average of 0.23% so far this year, meaning that SO is performing better in terms of year-to-date returns.
Investors in the Utilities sector will want to keep a close eye on SO as it attempts to continue its solid performance.