Royal London Asset Management Ltd. trimmed its position in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 7.2% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 393,959 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 30,607 shares during the period. Royal London Asset Management Ltd.’s holdings in Southern were worth $21,772,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in SO. FMR LLC grew its stake in Southern by 24.1% during the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 12,907,022 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $667,035,000 after acquiring an additional 2,503,587 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Southern by 10.3% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 12,763,112 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $559,911,000 after acquiring an additional 1,188,667 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System grew its stake in Southern by 20.6% during the first quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 6,398,661 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $330,683,000 after acquiring an additional 1,095,027 shares in the last quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA grew its stake in Southern by 9.6% during the first quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 9,681,312 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $500,330,000 after acquiring an additional 849,842 shares in the last quarter. Finally, USS Investment Management Ltd purchased a new position in Southern during the first quarter valued at $31,406,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 56.66% of the company’s stock.
In related news, EVP James Y. Kerr II sold 25,000 shares of Southern stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.16, for a total transaction of $1,454,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 67,655 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,934,814.80. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.51, for a total transaction of $115,020.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 71,772 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,127,607.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 769,547 shares of company stock valued at $42,411,331. 0.88% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Shares of SO stock traded down $0.67 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $58.01. 3,105,432 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 4,345,933. Southern Co has a 12-month low of $42.50 and a 12-month high of $58.78. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.33, a current ratio of 0.76 and a quick ratio of 0.59. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $56.19. The company has a market cap of $60.68 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.90, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.28 and a beta of 0.18.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 31st. The utilities provider reported $0.80 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.72 by $0.08. Southern had a net margin of 20.18% and a return on equity of 10.04%. The firm had revenue of $5.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.12 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.80 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that Southern Co will post 3.03 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 6th. Investors of record on Monday, August 19th will be paid a dividend of $0.62 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 16th. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.28%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is presently 80.78%.
A number of brokerages have commented on SO. Evercore ISI raised shares of Southern from an “in-line” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, May 3rd. Bank of America dropped their price objective on shares of Southern from $61.00 to $60.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, August 1st. Credit Suisse Group set a $51.00 price objective on shares of Southern and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, April 22nd. ValuEngine cut shares of Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 6th. Finally, Barclays reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $57.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, June 19th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. Southern currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $52.10.
The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It operates in four segments: Gas Distribution Operations, Gas Pipeline Investments, Wholesale Gas Services, and Gas Marketing Services. The company also constructs, acquires, owns, and manages power generation assets, including renewable energy facilities and sells electricity in the wholesale market; and distributes natural gas in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee, as well as provides gas marketing services, wholesale gas services, and gas pipeline investments operations.
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