Southern Co. (NYSE:SO)’s share price hit a new 52-week high on Friday . The company traded as high as $54.64 and last traded at $54.52, with a volume of 3,387,104 shares. The stock had previously closed at $53.90.

A number of equities analysts have commented on the company. Argus restated a “buy” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, June 15th. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Thursday, April 28th. SunTrust Banks Inc. lowered their price objective on Southern from $52.00 to $51.00 in a research note on Tuesday, April 12th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 11th. Finally, Howard Weil assumed coverage on Southern in a research note on Friday, May 13th. They set a “sector perform” rating and a $52.00 price objective on the stock. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $51.77.

The stock has a market cap of $50.08 billion and a P/E ratio of 21.31. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $52.28 and its 200-day moving average is $50.00.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 27th. The company reported $0.58 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.05. The firm earned $3.97 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.25 billion. Southern’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.56 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Southern Co. will post $2.84 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 6th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 15th will be given a dividend of $0.56 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 11th. This represents a $2.24 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.11%.

In other Southern news, CFO Art P. Beattie sold 123,207 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.12, for a total transaction of $6,667,962.84. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 75,141 shares in the company, valued at $4,066,630.92. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Ann P. Daiss sold 7,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, June 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.28, for a total value of $365,960.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 9,394 shares in the company, valued at approximately $491,118.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several hedge funds and institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SO. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Southern by 2.5% in the fourth quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 54,686,446 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,558,779,000 after buying an additional 1,325,479 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley boosted its position in Southern by 8.1% in the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 3,452,709 shares of the company’s stock valued at $161,555,000 after buying an additional 259,589 shares during the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its position in Southern by 2.8% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 9,364,719 shares of the company’s stock valued at $438,175,000 after buying an additional 253,648 shares during the last quarter. Caldwell & Orkin Inc. purchased a new position in Southern during the fourth quarter valued at $8,596,000. Finally, Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. boosted its position in Southern by 27.9% in the fourth quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 841,354 shares of the company’s stock valued at $39,367,000 after buying an additional 183,603 shares during the last quarter.

The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional operating companies and Southern Power Company (Southern Power), and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. Southern Company’s segments include the sale of electricity by four traditional operating companies, Southern Power and All Other.

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