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

Zacks Equity Research

Southern Co. (SO) closed at $56.14 in the latest trading session, marking a +0.63% move from the prior day. The stock outpaced the S&P 500's daily gain of 0.36%. Elsewhere, the Dow gained 0.01%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.27%.

Prior to today's trading, shares of the power company had gained 0.09% over the past month. This has lagged the Utilities sector's gain of 1.93% and the S&P 500's gain of 3.98% in that time.

SO will be looking to display strength as it nears its next earnings release, which is expected to be July 31, 2019. The company is expected to report EPS of $0.71, down 11.25% from the prior-year quarter. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $5.08 billion, down 9.73% from the year-ago period.

Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $3.03 per share and revenue of $22.34 billion. These totals would mark changes of -1.3% and -4.93%, respectively, from last year.

Investors might also notice recent changes to analyst estimates for SO. 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. To benefit from this, we have developed the Zacks Rank, a proprietary model which takes these estimate changes into account and provides an 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. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection remained stagnant. SO is holding a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold) right now.

Digging into valuation, SO currently has a Forward P/E ratio of 18.41. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 20.15, which means SO is trading at a discount to the group.

Meanwhile, SO's PEG ratio is currently 4.09. 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. Utility - Electric Power stocks are, on average, holding a PEG ratio of 3.87 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 100, putting it in the top 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.

To follow SO in the coming trading sessions, be sure to utilize Zacks.com.


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