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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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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. The Motley Fool recommends Southern Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.