Based on the aggregated intelligence of 115,000 investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, electric utility giant Southern (NYSE:SO) has earned a coveted five-star ranking. Our data has shown that five-star stocks outperform the market by a significant margin; conversely, one-star stocks have woefully lagged the market average.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Southern's business, and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Southern facts

Headquarters

Atlanta, Georgia (1945)

Market Cap

$28.88 billion

Industry

Electric Utilities

TTM Revenue

$16.07 billion

Management

CEO David Ratcliffe
CFO Paul Bowers

TTM Return on Equity

14.2%

Competitors

FPL Group (NYSE:FPL)
Entergy (NYSE:ETR)

CAPS members bullish on SO also bullish on

Altria (NYSE:MO)
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

CAPS members bearish on SO also bearish on

Progress Energy (NYSE:PGN)
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM)

Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, and Motley Fool CAPS. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Over on CAPS, fully 130 of the 136 All-Star members who have rated Southern -- some 96% -- believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These All-Star bulls include VoodooSaviour and rebelseeker, both of whom are ranked in the top 20% of our community.

Last month, VoodooSaviour recommended a steady dose of Southern comfort: "No expectation to rise or fall very much, but that could beat the market. Plus pays a good dividend."

An earlier pitch from rebelseeker follows that conservative line of thinking, highlighting some of the stock's reassuring ratios (which remain relatively unchanged):

Solid dividend paying stock with [yield] 4.76%. Very good company with high customer satisfaction. I have personally owned this stock for >10 years. It won't make you rich over night, but will give good steady return.

Net earning per share has increased each year for last several years. Net profit margin is 11%. P/E 15.4 P/B 2.16

What do you think about Southern, or any other stock for that matter? Make your voice heard on Motley Fool CAPS today. More than 115,000 investors are waiting to hear what you have to say. CAPS is 100% free, so simply click here to get started.

On Oct. 7, 2008, Fool Co-Founder David Gardner and his Motley Fool Pro team will invest $1 million in a portfolio designed to help you make money in any market. In the coming weeks, the team, relying heavily on proprietary CAPS "community intelligence" data, will establish long and short positions in a broad range of securities, including common stocks, publicly traded put and call options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). To learn more about Motley Fool Pro and to receive a private invitation to join, simply enter your email address in the box below.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Southern is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.