The Southern Company (SO): Checking the Operational Data

The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) has recently been identified as an interesting stock but more in-depth monitoring is needed for a trade decision. Now trading with a market value of 43.85B, the company has a mix of catalysts and obstacles that spring from the nature of its operations. Everyone seems to have their own opinion of this stock. But what do the numbers really say? We think it’s a great time to take a fresh look.

The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) Fundamentals That Matter

It’s generally a good idea to start with the most fundamental piece of the picture: the balance sheet. The balance sheet health of any company plays a key role in its ability to meet its obligations and maintain the faith of its investment base. For SO, the company currently has 1.84 billion of cash on the books, which is offset by 6.08 billion in current liabilities. The trend over time is important to note. In this case, the company’s debt has been falling. The company also has 110.32 billion in total assets, balanced by 83.96 billion in total liabilities, which should give you a sense of the viability of the company under any number of imagined business contexts.

The Southern Company (SO) saw 587 million in free cash flow last quarter, representing a quarterly net change in cash of 408 million. Perhaps most importantly where cash movements are concerned, the company saw about 2.51 billion in net operating cash flow.

The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) Revenue Growth Potential

As far as key trends that demonstrate something of the future investment potential of this stock, we need to take a closer look at the top line, first and foremost. Last quarter, the company saw 6.22 billion in total revenues. That represents a quarterly year/year change in revenues of -0.01 in sequential terms, the SO saw sales decline by 0.15.

But what about the bottom line? After all, that’s what really matters in the end. The Southern Company (SO) is intriguing when broken down to its core data. The cost of selling goods last quarter was 3.82 billion, yielding a gross basic income of 2.4 billion. For shareholders, given the total diluted outstanding shares of 1.01 billion, this means overall earnings per share of 1.06. Note, this compares with a consensus analyst forecast of 0.81 in earnings per share for its next fiscal quarterly report.

Is The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) Valuation Attractive

Looking ahead at valuations, according to the consensus, the next fiscal year is forecast to bring about 3.05 in total earnings per share. If we consider a median price to earnings ratio on the stock, that corresponds with a stock price of 14.07. However, one should always remember: the trends are more important than the forecasts. This continues to be an interesting story, and we look forward to updating it again soon on The Southern Company.

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