CENTRAL TRUST Co boosted its position in Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 1.8% in the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 68,433 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,187 shares during the period. CENTRAL TRUST Co’s holdings in Southern were worth $3,537,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Southern during the 4th quarter valued at $317,444,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lifted its holdings in shares of Southern by 4,238.0% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,812,534 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $110,000 after purchasing an additional 4,701,596 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Southern by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 67,971,011 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,985,286,000 after purchasing an additional 2,593,928 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Southern by 20.7% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 10,403,435 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $456,919,000 after purchasing an additional 1,785,854 shares in the last quarter. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its holdings in shares of Southern by 45.0% in the fourth quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 5,303,634 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $232,936,000 after purchasing an additional 1,645,805 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 56.59% of the company’s stock.
SO has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Evercore ISI upgraded Southern from an “in-line” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, May 3rd. restated a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Wednesday, February 13th. Citigroup upgraded Southern from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their target price for the company from $45.00 to $50.00 in a report on Thursday, January 24th. SunTrust Banks restated a “hold” rating and issued a $52.00 target price on shares of Southern in a report on Monday, February 25th. Finally, reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, February 13th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Southern currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $48.23.
SO stock traded up $0.14 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $54.11. 3,814,030 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 4,785,763. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37, a current ratio of 0.88 and a quick ratio of 0.69. Southern Co has a 52 week low of $42.50 and a 52 week high of $54.44. The stock has a market capitalization of $56.10 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.63, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.95 and a beta of 0.21.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.70 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.70. Southern had a net margin of 15.03% and a return on equity of 10.37%. The company had revenue of $5.41 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.66 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.88 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 15.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that Southern Co will post 3.03 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 6th. Investors of record on Monday, May 20th will be paid a $0.62 dividend. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.58%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 17th. This is a boost from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 80.78%.
In other Southern news, insider Ann P. Daiss sold 3,786 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.42, for a total transaction of $206,034.12. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 13,798 shares in the company, valued at $750,887.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Henry A. Clark III purchased 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 5th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $50.19 per share, with a total value of $100,380.00. Following the purchase, the director now owns 2,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $100,380. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 271,035 shares of company stock valued at $13,920,112. 0.73% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
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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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