The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) Receives Consensus Recommendation of “Hold” from Brokerages

The Southern Company (NYSE:SOGet Rating) has earned an average rating of “Hold” from the sixteen analysts that are presently covering the stock, Marketbeat reports. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, three have given a hold recommendation and five have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average twelve-month price objective among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $72.15.

Several research analysts have issued reports on the company. Guggenheim dropped their price target on Southern from $80.00 to $69.00 in a report on Monday, October 24th. Credit Suisse Group upped their price target on Southern from $60.00 to $70.00 and gave the company an “underperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 18th. StockNews.com assumed coverage on Southern in a report on Wednesday, October 12th. They issued a “hold” rating on the stock. Wolfe Research raised Southern from a “peer perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $76.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, December 12th. Finally, UBS Group cut their target price on shares of Southern to $80.00 in a research note on Monday, November 21st.

Southern Stock Performance

SO opened at $66.70 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $72.61 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.11, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.50 and a beta of 0.48. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.42, a current ratio of 0.81 and a quick ratio of 0.64. Southern has a 1-year low of $58.85 and a 1-year high of $80.57. The business has a 50 day moving average price of $69.11 and a two-hundred day moving average price of $71.17.

Southern (NYSE:SOGet Rating) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 27th. The utilities provider reported $1.31 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.33 by ($0.02). The firm had revenue of $8.38 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.75 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 12.21% and a net margin of 12.52%. Research analysts predict that Southern will post 3.59 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Southern Dividend Announcement

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, March 6th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, February 21st will be given a dividend of $0.68 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, February 17th. This represents a $2.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.08%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is 86.08%.

Insider Transactions at Southern

In other news, EVP Martin Bernard Davis sold 3,050 shares of Southern stock in a transaction on Friday, October 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.80, for a total transaction of $200,690.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 39,916 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,626,472.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. In other news, EVP Martin Bernard Davis sold 3,050 shares of Southern stock in a transaction on Friday, October 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.80, for a total transaction of $200,690.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 39,916 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,626,472.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 14,546 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.95, for a total transaction of $1,032,038.70. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 120,786 shares in the company, valued at $8,569,766.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 19,071 shares of company stock valued at $1,333,545 over the last three months. 0.37% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional Inflows and Outflows

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of SO. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Southern by 1.5% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 94,652,372 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $6,436,360,000 after buying an additional 1,391,612 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Southern by 1.0% in the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 76,360,768 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $5,192,533,000 after buying an additional 723,336 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its position in shares of Southern by 2.1% in the 3rd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 65,068,549 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,424,661,000 after buying an additional 1,313,036 shares in the last quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD raised its position in shares of Southern by 6.2% in the 3rd quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 63,002,360 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,284,352,000 after buying an additional 3,653,841 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC increased its position in Southern by 8.0% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 34,917,062 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,489,935,000 after purchasing an additional 2,583,841 shares in the last quarter. 61.78% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Southern

(Get Rating)

The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It operates through Gas Distribution Operations, Gas Pipeline Investments, Wholesale Gas Services, and Gas Marketing Services segments. The company also develops, constructs, acquires, owns, and manages power generation assets, including renewable energy projects 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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Analyst Recommendations for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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