Shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) have been assigned an average rating of “Hold” from the eighteen ratings firms that are currently covering the stock, MarketBeat reports. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, eleven have given a hold recommendation and one has issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 1 year price target among analysts that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $47.54.

Several equities analysts have weighed in on the company. ValuEngine cut Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, April 1st. Zacks Investment Research cut Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 9th. Credit Suisse Group set a $51.00 target price on Southern and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday. reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, February 13th. Finally, SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $52.00 target price on shares of Southern in a research note on Monday, February 25th.

In related news, CEO William P. Bowers sold 90,942 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.60, for a total value of $4,419,781.20. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 177,043 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,604,289.80. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 18,922 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.36, for a total value of $952,911.92. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 10,165 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $511,909.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 383,341 shares of company stock valued at $19,342,988. 0.73% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Bristlecone Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in Southern by 21.4% in the 1st quarter. Bristlecone Advisors LLC now owns 18,862 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $975,000 after purchasing an additional 3,325 shares during the last quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV lifted its holdings in Southern by 58.2% in the 1st quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 10,973 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $567,000 after purchasing an additional 4,037 shares during the last quarter. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. ADV acquired a new stake in Southern in the 1st quarter worth approximately $4,727,000. Advisor Partners LLC lifted its holdings in Southern by 8.1% in the 1st quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 26,195 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,354,000 after purchasing an additional 1,953 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Trinity Legacy Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Southern in the 1st quarter worth approximately $217,000. 56.89% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

NYSE:SO traded down $0.09 on Tuesday, hitting $51.84. 3,998,833 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 4,934,070. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.40, a current ratio of 0.67 and a quick ratio of 0.54. Southern has a 1 year low of $42.42 and a 1 year high of $52.98. The stock has a market cap of $54.14 billion, a PE ratio of 16.89, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.82 and a beta of 0.20.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, February 20th. The utilities provider reported $0.25 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.23 by $0.02. Southern had a return on equity of 11.39% and a net margin of 9.54%. The company had revenue of $5.34 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.88 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.51 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Southern will post 3.03 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared 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 is a boost from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 17th. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.78%. Southern’s payout ratio is presently 78.18%.

Southern Company Profile

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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Analyst Recommendations for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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