Southern Co Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (SO)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Southern (NYSE: SO) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • SO's revenue growth trails the industry average of 18.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $737.00 million or 29.75% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SOUTHERN CO has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 25.00%.
  • SOUTHERN CO has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SOUTHERN CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.67 versus $2.55 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.75 versus $2.67).
  • The gross profit margin for SOUTHERN CO is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 34.15%. Regardless of SO's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 2.48% trails the industry average.
  • The share price of SOUTHERN CO has not done very well: it is down 6.65% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it is one of the factors that makes this stock an attractive investment.

The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company. Southern has a market cap of $38.2 billion and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are up 2.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full Southern Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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