The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) announced a quarterly dividend on Friday, January 14th, RTT News reports. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, February 22nd will be paid a dividend of 0.66 per share by the utilities provider on Monday, March 7th. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.85%.
Southern has increased its dividend payment by 10.1% over the last three years and has increased its dividend annually for the last 21 consecutive years. Southern has a dividend payout ratio of 69.1% meaning its dividend is sufficiently covered by earnings. Research analysts expect Southern to earn $3.55 per share next year, which means the company should continue to be able to cover its $2.64 annual dividend with an expected future payout ratio of 74.4%.
Shares of Southern stock traded up $0.23 during trading on Friday, reaching $68.58. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 398,411 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,948,095. The company has a 50-day simple moving average of $65.13 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $64.27. Southern has a 1-year low of $56.69 and a 1-year high of $69.23. The company has a market cap of $72.68 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.24, a P/E/G ratio of 3.87 and a beta of 0.51. The company has a quick ratio of 0.69, a current ratio of 0.86 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.47.
Several equities analysts have recently issued reports on SO shares. UBS Group cut Southern from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 5th. Scotiabank cut shares of Southern from a “sector outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 15th. KeyCorp raised their price target on shares of Southern from $69.00 to $71.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Thursday. Mizuho upgraded shares of Southern from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $55.00 to $60.00 in a research report on Monday, December 6th. Finally, Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on Southern from $61.00 to $65.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 21st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. According to MarketBeat.com, the stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $68.64.
In related news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.05, for a total value of $157,625.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Kimberly S. Greene sold 66,121 shares of Southern stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.54, for a total transaction of $4,465,812.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 78,960 shares of company stock valued at $5,296,450 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.43% of the company’s stock.
A hedge fund recently raised its stake in Southern stock. Keudell Morrison Wealth Management raised its position in The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) by 1.2% during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 18,794 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after purchasing an additional 225 shares during the quarter. Keudell Morrison Wealth Management’s holdings in Southern were worth $1,165,000 as of its most recent SEC filing. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 59.05% of the company’s stock.
The Southern Co is a holding company. The firm engages in the sale of electricity. It operates through the following segments: Traditional Electric Operating Companies, Southern Power and Southern Company Gas. The Traditional Electric Operating Companies segment refers to vertically integrated utilities that own generation, transmission and distribution facilities, and supplies electric services in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi.
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