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

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 lower today making it today's featured Utilities laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.9%. By the end of trading, Southern fell $0.71 (-1.5%) to $46.22 on average volume. Throughout the day, 3,566,989 shares of Southern exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,795,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $46.05-$47.05 after having opened the day at $46.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $46.93. Other companies within the Utilities sector that declined today were: U.S. Geothermal ( HTM), down 8.7%, Empresa Distribuidora y Comercializadora No ( EDN), down 7.1%, Korea Electric Power ( KEP), down 5.5% and AES ( AES), down 4.9%.
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The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company. Southern has a market cap of $41.2 billion and is part of the utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Southern a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, Ocean Power Technologies ( OPTT), down 33.8%, Atlantic Power Corporation ( AT), down 14.3%, GreenHunter Energy ( GRH), down 7.0% and Ellomay Capital ( ELLO), down 4.4% , were all gainers within the utilities sector with EQT ( EQT) being today's featured utilities sector leader.

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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