Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “SO is one of the largest and best-managed electric utility holding companies in the U.S., dominating the power business across the southeastern region. With good rate base growth and constructive regulation, we expect it to generate steady earnings and dividend growth in the coming years through its long-term power contracts. Additionally, the utility's $12 billion AGL Resources has significantly increased its customer base and diversified its offerings. However, continued timing and cost overrun issues over two large construction projects – Vogtle and Kemper – are major overhangs. While the $20 billion Vogtle nuclear plant has gone well over budget and is years behind schedule, Southern's Kemper project suffered yet another setback with the suspension of all coal gasification operations amid additional cost burden. The interplay of these factors account for our conservative investment thesis.”

A number of other brokerages have also commented on SO. Guggenheim upgraded Southern Company (The) from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $49.00 to $56.00 in a research report on Thursday, September 14th. Citigroup Inc. reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $44.00 price target (up previously from $43.00) on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. BidaskClub raised Southern Company (The) from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 24th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Mizuho raised Southern Company (The) from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $53.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, September 5th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $49.44.

Southern Company (NYSE SO) traded up 0.12% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $50.80. The stock had a trading volume of 1,684,440 shares. The firm has a market cap of $50.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 83.55 and a beta of 0.13. Southern Company has a 1-year low of $46.20 and a 1-year high of $52.23. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $49.31 and a 200-day moving average of $49.35.

Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $5.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.23 billion. Southern Company (The) had a return on equity of 11.30% and a net margin of 2.93%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 21.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.74 EPS. Analysts predict that Southern Company will post $2.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY WARNING: “Southern Company (The) (SO) Downgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research” was first reported by American Banking News and is owned by of American Banking News. If you are accessing this story on another site, it was illegally stolen and reposted in violation of United States & international copyright laws. The legal version of this story can be accessed at https://www.americanbankingnews.com/2017/10/13/southern-company-the-so-downgraded-to-hold-at-zacks-investment-research.html.

In related news, CEO William P. Bowers sold 85,151 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total transaction of $4,257,550.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 75,144 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was 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 approximately $4,204,338.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC acquired a new stake in Southern Company (The) during the 2nd quarter worth $100,000. Symmetry Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Southern Company (The) during the 1st quarter worth $103,000. Monroe Bank & Trust MI raised its stake in Southern Company (The) by 17.9% during the 2nd quarter. Monroe Bank & Trust MI now owns 2,300 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $110,000 after buying an additional 350 shares during the period. Stuart Chaussee & Associates Inc. raised its stake in Southern Company (The) by 358.8% during the 1st quarter. Stuart Chaussee & Associates Inc. now owns 2,225 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 1,740 shares during the period. Finally, AlphaMark Advisors LLC raised its stake in Southern Company (The) by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. AlphaMark Advisors LLC now owns 2,363 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 14 shares during the period. 53.27% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Southern Company (The)

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.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Southern Company (The) (SO)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

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

Receive News & Ratings for Southern Company (The) Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Southern Company (The) and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.