Southern Co (SO): Today's Featured Utilities Winner

The utilities sector closed the day up 1.7%. Beacon Power ( BCON), China Hydroelectric ( CHC), Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA), and Centrais Ele. Brasileira S.A. Eletrobras ( EBR) were all winners today within the utilities sector with Southern ( SO) being today's featured utilities winner. Southern rose 67 cents (1.6%) to $43.94 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 19.2 million shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.8 million shares.

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 $36.9 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.2, below the average utilities industry P/E ratio of 18.4 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Active Power Inc ( ACPW) was today's featured 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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