Southern Co (NYSE:SO)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by equities researchers at Jefferies Group LLC in a research report issued on Monday. They currently have a $55.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. Jefferies Group LLC’s price target would indicate a potential upside of 10.29% from the stock’s current price.

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on SO. Argus cut Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, March 3rd. Zacks Investment Research cut Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 25th. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on Southern from $50.00 to $51.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research note on Monday, May 8th. Barclays PLC reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and set a $56.00 price objective (up from $53.00) on shares of Southern in a research note on Sunday, April 23rd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $53.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research note on Thursday, March 30th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $51.79.

Analyst Recommendations for Southern (NYSE:SO)

Shares of Southern (NYSE:SO) traded up 0.110% on Monday, reaching $49.925. The company had a trading volume of 1,313,126 shares. Southern has a one year low of $46.20 and a one year high of $54.64. The firm has a market cap of $49.66 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.671 and a beta of 0.05. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $49.88 and a 200-day moving average price of $49.28.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, May 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.66 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.58 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $5.77 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.58 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 12.69% and a net margin of 14.14%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 44.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.58 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Southern will post $2.97 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, June 6th. Shareholders of record on Monday, May 15th will be paid a $0.58 dividend. This represents a $2.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.65%. This is a boost from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 11th. Southern’s payout ratio is presently 83.27%.

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In other Southern news, VP James Y. Kerr II sold 68,609 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.05, for a total value of $3,433,880.45. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 69,609 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,483,930.45. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Stan W. Connally sold 16,100 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.50, for a total value of $813,050.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 19,424 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $980,912. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 86,891 shares of company stock valued at $4,356,816. Insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of SO. Park National raised its stake in shares of Southern by 5.2% in the fourth quarter. Park National now owns 78,316 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,664,000 after buying an additional 3,884 shares during the period. First Premier Bank purchased a new stake in shares of Southern during the fourth quarter worth approximately $5,086,000. Woodstock raised its stake in shares of Southern by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Woodstock now owns 35,525 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,662,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the period. Gerstein Fisher purchased a new stake in shares of Southern during the third quarter worth approximately $207,000. Finally, Community Bank & Trust of Waco, Texas purchased a new stake in shares of Southern during the fourth quarter worth approximately $2,370,000. 51.57% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Southern Company Profile

The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional electric operating companies and the parent entities of Southern Power Company (Southern Power) and Southern Company Gas, and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Company’s segments include Gas distribution operations, Gas marketing services, Wholesale gas services, Gas midstream operations and All other.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:SO

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