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Southern Company Q1 Earnings Top, Revenues Fall

Electric utility firm Southern Company SO reported first-quarter 2016 earnings per share (excluding certain one-time items) of 58 cents, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 53 cents and higher than the year-ago adjusted profit of 56 cents. The strong numbers can be attributed to lower costs.

The Atlanta-based power supplier’s quarterly revenue – at $3,965 million – came 5% lower than the first-quarter 2015 level of $4,017 million amid a dip in retail sales.

Overall Sales Breakup

While wholesale sales increased 5.7%, this was more than offset by a decline in Southern Company’s retail electricity demand due to a milder-than-normal winter. This brought about a downward movement in overall electricity sales and usage. Total electricity sales during the first quarter deteriorated 1.7% from the same period last year.

Southern Company’s total retail sales fell 3.0%. This mainly reflects sharply lower residential sales that dived 7.2% year over year. Also, demand from industrial customers fell 0.8%.

Expenses Summary

Southern Company’s operations and maintenance cost edged down 1% to $1,109 million, while the company’s total operating expense for the period – at $3,035 million – was approximately 6% lower than the prior-year level.

Zacks Rank & Stock Picks

Southern Company – one of the largest generators of electricity in the nation along with the likes of Exelon Corp. EXC and Duke Energy Corp. DUK –  currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A better-ranked player from the same industry would be Edison International EIX. This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock offers tremendous value and is worth buying now.

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EXELON CORP (EXC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SOUTHERN CO (SO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
EDISON INTL (EIX): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DUKE ENERGY CP (DUK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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