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The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) is anticipated to report earnings before the opening bell on January 25, 2012.

Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, operates as a utility company that provides electric service in the southeastern United States. The company was founded in 1945 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. SO trades an average of 3.7 million shares per day.

52 Week High: $46.69
52 Week Low: $35.73
Book Value: $21.72
Float Short: 1.59%

On average, 12 analysts are expecting a drop of $-0.77 in earnings per share compared to last quarter's results of $1.07. A beat of $0.30 per share will top the estimated per share earnings. Analyst estimates range between $0.24 and $0.31 per share.

The current trailing twelve months P/E ratio is 18.4. The forward P/E ratio is 16.85. Everyone loves this company. Ultra low short interest suggests the smart money want no part in shorting this stock. The chart is perfect for trend followers with all the major moving averages headed higher. The dividend yield is over 4% and investors still have a chance to buy this stock right before the ex-dividend date.

This stock dividend is featured in the Rocco Pendola newsletter as a dividend capture idea. What makes it a desirable dividend capture stock is, if I end up holding it due to a price fall, I will be comfortable with it. I would consider Southern for a long-term holding.

The company has rising revenue year-over-year of $17.46 billion for 2010 vs. $15.74 billion for 2009. The bottom line has rising earnings year-over-year of $2.04 billion for 2010 vs. $1.71 billion for 2009.The company's earnings before interest and taxes are rising with an EBIT year-over-year of $3.80 billion for 2010 vs. $3.27 billion for 2009. Rising revenue along with rising earnings is a very good sign and what we want to see with our companies. Be sure to check the margins to make sure that the bottom line is keeping up with the top line.

Here is a look at the fiscal year revenue:

paid2trade.com revenue gross bar chart for SO

Gross reported revenue compared to the mean estimate (rounded):

Fiscal Quarter Ending Month-YearRevenue EstimatesActual$ DifferenceDifference %
Sep-11$ 5.90 B$ 5.43 B$ -472.21 M-8%
Jun-11$ 4.48 B$ 4.52 B$ 38.72 M0.86%
Mar-11$ 3.97 B$ 4.01 B$ 36.05 M0.91%
Dec-10$ 3.51 B$ 3.77 B$ 257.18 M7.32%
Sep-10$ 5.30 B$ 5.32 B$ 15.30 M0.29%

M = millions, B = billions.
Differences are rounded.
Some one-time items are often excluded in reported EPS.

paid2trade.com Quarterly Estimates And Actual EPS results SO
Reported earnings per share compared to the mean estimate. Differences are rounded.

The total short interest number of shares for SO:

paid2trade.com short interest tool. The total short interest number of shares for SO

The number of days to cover short interest based on average daily trading volume for SO:

paid2trade.com number of days to cover short interest based on average daily trading volume for SO

I use a proprietary blend of technical analysis, financial crowd behavior, and fundamentals in my short-term trades, and while not totally the same in longer swing trades to investments, the concepts used are similar. You may want to use this article as a starting point of your own research with your financial planner. I use Seeking Alpha, Edgar Online, and Yahoo Finance for most of my data. I use the confirmed symbols from earnings.com that I believe to be of the most interest.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in SO over the next 72 hours.

Source: Earnings Preview: Southern Company Reports Q4 Results Wednesday

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