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The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) was upgraded by research analysts at CIBC from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report released on Friday, reports.

In other The Southern Company news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 51,086 shares of The Southern Company stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.19, for a total transaction of $2,257,490.34. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link.

Shares of The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) opened at 44.16 on Friday. The Southern Company has a 1-year low of $40.03 and a 1-year high of $46.81. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $43.87 and its 200-day moving average is $43.81. The company has a market cap of $39.554 billion and a P/E ratio of 17.65. The Southern Company also was the recipient of a large decline in short interest in 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. Based on an average trading volume of 5,062,024 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 8.2 days. Approximately 4.7% of the shares of the company are sold short.

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. Analysts expect that The Southern Company will post $2.79 EPS for the current fiscal year.

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on SO. 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 given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average 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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