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The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) saw a large increase in short interest in July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 47,918,924 shares, an increase of 20.3% from the July 15th total of 39,849,134 shares, Stock Ratings News reports. Based on an average daily volume of 4,614,188 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 10.4 days. Approximately 5.4% of the shares of the stock are short sold.

SO has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Analysts at Morgan Stanley downgraded shares of The Southern Company from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Separately, analysts at SunTrust reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of The Southern Company in a research note on Monday, August 4th. They now have a $43.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $44.00. Finally, analysts at Citigroup Inc. reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of The Southern Company in a research note on Wednesday, July 23rd. They now have a $47.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $43.00. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The Southern Company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $44.55.

Shares of The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) opened at 43.43 on Friday. The Southern Company has a 52-week low of $40.03 and a 52-week high of $46.81. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $44.17 and a 200-day moving average of $43.54. The company has a market cap of $38.900 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.21.

The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 30th. The company reported $0.68 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the analysts’ consensus estimate of $0.66 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $4.47 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.32 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.66 earnings per share. The Southern Company’s revenue was up 5.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that The Southern Company will post $2.79 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 6th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 4th will be given a dividend of $0.525 per share. This represents a $2.10 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.88%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, July 31st.

The Southern Company (NYSE:SO)is a holding company, which owns all of the common stock of the traditional operating companies, including Alabama Power Company (Alabama Power), Georgia Power Company (Georgia Power), Gulf Power Company (Gulf Power), and Mississippi Power Company (Mississippi Power) ,and Southern Power Company (Southern Power), and other direct and indirect subsidiaries (together, the Southern Company system).

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