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

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 1.3%. By the end of trading, Southern rose $0.64 (1.3%) to $48.51 on average volume. Throughout the day, 3,416,875 shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4,113,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $47.90-$48.51 after having opened the day at $47.99 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $47.87. Other companies within the Utilities sector that increased today were: Fuelcell Energy ( FCEL), up 10.0%, Cadiz ( CDZI), up 4.5%, El Paso Electric Company ( EE), up 4.2% and Just Energy Group ( JE), up 3.0%.
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The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company. Southern has a market cap of $41.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.0, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.8% 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, 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.

On the negative front, Transportadora de Gas del Sur ( TGS), down 4.1%, U.S. Geothermal ( HTM), down 2.8%, SJW Corporation ( SJW), down 2.2% and China Hydroelectric Corporation ( CHC), down 1.7%.

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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