Southern (NYSE: SO) reported earnings on Jan. 30. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Southern whiffed on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue was unchanged and GAAP earnings per share grew significantly.

Margins grew across the board.

Revenue details
Southern reported revenue of $3.70 billion. The five analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ wanted to see net sales of $4.53 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 0.2% higher than the prior-year quarter's $3.70 billion.

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

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.44. The 16 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ averaged $0.40 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.44 for Q4 were 47% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.30 per share.

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

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 40.2%, 660 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 22.0%, 610 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 10.8%, 370 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $3.87 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.47.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $18.12 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.77.

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 306 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 295 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 $46.27.

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