Will These Numbers from Southern Be Good Enough for You?

Southern (NYSE: SO  ) is expected to report Q4 earnings on Jan. 30. Here's what Wall Street wants to see:

The 10-second takeaway
Comparing the upcoming quarter to the prior-year quarter, average analyst estimates predict Southern's revenues will grow 18.3% and EPS will increase 42.9%.

The average estimate for revenue is $4.37 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.40.

Revenue details
Last quarter, Southern chalked up revenue of $5.05 billion. GAAP reported sales were 7.0% lower than the prior-year quarter's $5.43 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
Last quarter, EPS came in at $1.11. GAAP EPS of $1.11 for Q3 were 4.7% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.06 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Recent performance
For the preceding quarter, gross margin was 48.0%, 520 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 34.5%, 410 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 19.3%, 240 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead

The full year's average estimate for revenue is $17.54 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.62.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 1,024 members out of 1,080 rating the stock outperform, and 56 members rating it underperform. Among 303 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 292 give Southern a green thumbs-up, and 11 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Southern is hold, with an average price target of $47.00.

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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. TMFDisclosureHer

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5/27/2016 4:02 PM
SO $49.16 Down -0.06 -0.12%
Southern Company CAPS Rating: ****