Southern

(

SO

) pushed the Utilities sector higher today making it today's featured utilities winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.2%. By the end of trading, Southern rose 27 cents (0.6%) to $42.47 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1.7 million shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.9 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $42.21-$42.59 after having opened the day at $42.22 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.20. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were:

Evergreen Energy Inc

(

EEE

), up 40.8%,

Korea Electric Power

(

KEP

), up 6.3%,

Huaneng Power International Inc

(

HNP

), up 5.8%, and

Ocean Power Technologies

(

OPTT

), up 5.8%.

Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, operates as a utility company that provides electric service in the southeastern United States. The company generates, transmits, and distributes electricity through coal, nuclear, oil and gas, and hydro resources. Southern has a market cap of $36.74 billion and is part of the

utilities

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.3, below the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 17.6 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

On the negative front,

GreenHunter Energy Inc

(

GRH

), down 5.3%,

China Hydroelectric

(

CHC

), down 3.6%,

Consolidated Water Company

(

CWCO

), down 3.3%, and

Enersis

(

ENI

), down 3%, were all losers within the utilities sector with

TransCanada

(

TRP

) being today's utilities sector loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the utilities sector could consider

Utilities Select Sector SPDR

(

XLU

) while those bearish on the utilities sector could consider

ProShares UltraShort Utilities

(

SDP

).

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