Southern Co (NYSE:SO)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reiterated by investment analysts at Barclays PLC in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday, May 15th, StockTargetPrices.com reports. They presently have a $55.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Barclays PLC’s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 9.02% from the stock’s current price.

A number of other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on SO. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 25th. Deutsche Bank AG reduced their price target on shares of Southern from $52.00 to $50.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, April 11th. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on shares of Southern from $50.00 to $51.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research note on Monday, May 8th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $56.00 price target on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, April 12th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $53.00 price target on shares of Southern in a research note on Thursday, March 30th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $51.79.

Analyst Recommendations for Southern (NYSE:SO)

Southern (NYSE:SO) traded down 0.10% during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $50.45. 3,265,939 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a 50 day moving average of $49.87 and a 200-day moving average of $49.24. Southern has a 1-year low of $46.20 and a 1-year high of $54.64. The company has a market capitalization of $50.18 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.87 and a beta of 0.05.

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

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, June 6th. Investors of record on Monday, May 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.58 per share. This is an increase from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.60%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 11th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is presently 83.27%.

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In related news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 2,182 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.36, for a total transaction of $109,885.52. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 10,151 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $511,204.36. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Stan W. Connally sold 16,100 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.50, for a total transaction of $813,050.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 19,424 shares in the company, valued at $980,912. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 86,891 shares of company stock worth $4,356,816. 1.00% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. increased its stake in shares of Southern by 10.8% in the first quarter. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. now owns 2,050 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Symmetry Partners LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Southern during the first quarter valued at $103,000. Feltz Wealth PLAN Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Southern during the first quarter valued at $108,000. Stuart Chaussee & Associates Inc. increased its stake in shares of Southern by 358.8% in the first quarter. Stuart Chaussee & Associates Inc. now owns 2,225 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 1,740 shares during the last quarter. Finally, IHT Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Southern by 15.3% in the first quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,281 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 302 shares during the last quarter. 51.57% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Southern

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.

Stock Target Prices

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