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Southern Co. (SO) Gains As Market Dips: What You Should Know

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Southern Co. (SO) closed at $67.69 in the latest trading session, marking a +0.8% move from the prior day. This change outpaced the S&P 500's 0.13% loss on the day. At the same time, the Dow lost 0.15%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.14%.

Coming into today, shares of the power company had lost 11.28% in the past month. In that same time, the Utilities sector lost 7.78%, while the S&P 500 lost 3.32%.

Wall Street will be looking for positivity from Southern Co. as it approaches its next earnings report date. The company is expected to report EPS of $0.86, up 2.38% from the prior-year quarter. Meanwhile, our latest consensus estimate is calling for revenue of $5.62 billion, up 8.09% from the prior-year quarter.

Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $3.56 per share and revenue of $24.81 billion. These totals would mark changes of +4.4% and +7.33%, respectively, from last year.

It is also important to note the recent changes to analyst estimates for Southern Co.Recent revisions tend to reflect the latest near-term business trends. With this in mind, we can consider positive estimate revisions a sign of optimism about the company's business outlook.

Based on our research, we believe these estimate revisions are directly related to near-team stock moves. 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. The Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 0.05% lower within the past month. Southern Co. currently has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

Valuation is also important, so investors should note that Southern Co. has a Forward P/E ratio of 18.85 right now. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 17.7, so we one might conclude that Southern Co. is trading at a premium comparatively.

We can also see that SO currently has a PEG ratio of 4.71. 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. The Utility - Electric Power industry currently had an average PEG ratio of 2.99 as of yesterday's close.

The Utility - Electric Power industry is part of the Utilities sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 149, putting it in the bottom 42% 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.

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


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