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

Southern ( SO) pushed the Utilities sector lower today making it today's featured Utilities loser. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Southern fell 33 cents (-0.7%) to $45.37 on average volume. Throughout the day, 3.7 million shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.2 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $45.32-$45.58 after having opened the day at $45.33 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $45.70. Other company's within the Utilities sector that declined today were: Distribution and Marketing Company of the N ( EDN), down 11.7%, China Hydroelectric Corporation ( CHC), down 9.1%, Ocean Power Technologies ( OPTT), down 4.7%, and Unitil Corporation ( UTL), down 4.4%.

The Southern Company operates as an electric utility company. It is involved in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity through coal, nuclear, oil and gas, and hydro resources. Southern has a market cap of $39.5 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 22.2 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 1.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are two analysts that rate Southern a buy, three analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, Ormat Technologies ( ORA), up 7.9%, Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA), up 6%, GreenHunter Energy ( GRH), up 5%, and Transportadora de Gas del Sur ( TGS), up 4.7%, were all gainers within the utilities sector with Edison International ( EIX) being today's featured utilities sector winner.

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).