Southern Co (SO) In The Utilities Spotlight Today

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Southern ( SO) pushed the Utilities sector higher today making it today's featured utilities winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.8%. By the end of trading, Southern rose 51 cents (1.1%) to $46.14 on light volume. Throughout the day, 3.2 million shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.4 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $45.69-$46.18 after having opened the day at $45.72 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $45.63. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were: Just Energy Group ( JE), up 10%, China Hydroelectric Corporation ( CHC), up 5.9%, Energy Company of Parana ( ELP), up 4.6%, and Pure Cycle Corporation ( PCYO), up 2.6%.
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The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company. Southern has a market cap of $39.68 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there is one analyst that rates Southern a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

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, increase in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

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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