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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) closed at $68.44, marking a +0.09% move from the previous day. The stock lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 0.73%. At the same time, the Dow added 0.6%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.13%.

Prior to today's trading, shares of the power company had gained 8.09% over the past month. This has outpaced the Utilities sector's gain of 4.98% and the S&P 500's gain of 2.95% in that time.

Wall Street will be looking for positivity from SO as it approaches its next earnings report date. This is expected to be February 20, 2020. The company is expected to report EPS of $0.26, up 4% from the prior-year quarter. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $5.02 billion, down 5.89% from the year-ago period.

Any recent changes to analyst estimates for SO should also be noted by investors. 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. 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, 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. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection has moved 0.16% lower. SO is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

Valuation is also important, so investors should note that SO has a Forward P/E ratio of 21.56 right now. This valuation marks a premium compared to its industry's average Forward P/E of 20.64.

Investors should also note that SO has a PEG ratio of 4.79 right now. This popular metric is similar to the widely-known P/E ratio, with the difference being that the PEG ratio also takes into account the company's expected earnings growth rate. Utility - Electric Power stocks are, on average, holding a PEG ratio of 4.09 based on yesterday's closing prices.

The Utility - Electric Power industry is part of the Utilities sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 153, putting it in the bottom 40% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our 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.

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

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