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The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 51,086 shares of the stock on the open market in a transaction dated Friday, August 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.19, for a total transaction of $2,257,490.34. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 10,114 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $446,938. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link.

Shares of The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) traded down 1.60% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $43.69. 1,980,846 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The Southern Company has a 52 week low of $40.03 and a 52 week high of $46.81. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $43.92 and its 200-day moving average is $43.76. The company has a market cap of $39.133 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.74. The Southern Company also was the recipient of a large decline in short interest in the month of August. As of August 15th, there was short interest totalling 41,674,406 shares, a decline of 13.0% from the July 31st total of 47,918,924 shares. Currently, 4.7% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 5,062,024 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 8.2 days.

The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) last issued its quarterly earnings data 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 announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 4th will be paid a dividend of $0.525 per share. This represents a $2.10 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.73%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 31st.

Several analysts have recently commented on the stock. 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, August 13th. 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 research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The Southern Company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $44.55.

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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