Analysts at J P Morgan Chase & Co began coverage on shares of Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) in a research report issued on Tuesday. The brokerage set an “overweight” rating and a $16.78 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co’s price target would suggest a potential downside of 65.84% from the company’s current price.

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Deutsche Bank AG raised Southern Company (The) from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $50.00 to $52.00 in a research note on Tuesday, August 1st. Zacks Investment Research cut Southern Company (The) from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, June 16th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $53.00 price target on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Barclays PLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Friday, May 5th. Finally, BidaskClub cut Southern Company (The) from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $48.87.

Southern Company (NYSE SO) traded up 0.24% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $49.12. 5,256,804 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $49.09 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 80.79 and a beta of 0.12. Southern Company has a 12-month low of $46.20 and a 12-month high of $53.73. The company’s 50-day moving average is $48.43 and its 200-day moving average is $49.48.

Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.71 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $5.43 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.23 billion. Southern Company (The) had a return on equity of 11.30% and a net margin of 2.93%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 21.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.74 earnings per share. Equities analysts predict that Southern Company will post $2.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, insider Art P. Beattie sold 46,940 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, June 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.50, for a total transaction of $2,417,410.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 59,493 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,063,889.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 75,144 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.29, for a total value of $3,703,847.76. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 85,298 shares in the company, valued at $4,204,338.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 152,084 shares of company stock worth $7,665,158. Insiders own 0.74% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Park National boosted its stake in Southern Company (The) by 5.2% in the fourth quarter. Park National now owns 78,316 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,664,000 after buying an additional 3,884 shares during the period. First Premier Bank acquired a new stake in Southern Company (The) during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $5,086,000. Woodstock boosted its stake in Southern Company (The) by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Woodstock now owns 35,525 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,662,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the period. Gerstein Fisher acquired a new stake in Southern Company (The) during the third quarter valued at approximately $207,000. Finally, Community Bank & Trust of Waco, Texas acquired a new stake in Southern Company (The) during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $2,370,000. 53.57% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Southern Company (The) 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.

Analyst Recommendations for Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO)

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