Power supplier Southern Company SO reported first-quarter 2018 earnings per share (excluding certain one-time items) of 88 cents, above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 84 cents and the year-ago profit of 66 cents. The outperformance stemmed from strength of its retail unit.

The Atlanta-based utility’s quarterly revenue – at $6,372 million – came 10.4% higher than the first-quarter 2017 sales of $5,771 million and also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5,701 million.

Overall Sales Breakup

Southern Company’s wholesale power sales jumped 16.5%, while retail electricity demand strengthened amid favorable weather conditions. This brought about an upward movement in overall electricity sales and usage. In fact, total electricity sales during the first quarter was up 10.1% from the same period last year.

Southern Company’s total retail sales surged 8.1%, with residential, industrial and commercial sales up by 18.8%, 4.4% and 2.6%, respectively.

Southern Company (The) Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


Southern Company (The) Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Southern Company (The) Quote

Expenses Summary

The power supplier’s operations and maintenance cost increased 4.9% to $1,451 million, while the utility’s total operating expense for the period – at $4,996 million – was up 10.6% from 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 Corporation EXC and Duke Energy Corporation DUK –  currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A better-ranked player from the same industry would be NRG Energy, Inc. NRG that sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

NRG Energy Inc. is engaged in the production, sale and delivery of energy and energy products and services to residential, industrial and commercial consumers in major competitive power markets in the U.S.

Over 30 days, the Princeton, NJ-based company has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 and 2019 increase 3.5% and 5%, to $3.51 and $3.55 per share, respectively.

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