Southern Co. (NYSE:SO)’s share price hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading 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 research firms have recently weighed in on SO. Barclays PLC raised shares of Southern from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $54.00 to $62.00 in a research report on Thursday, July 14th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Mizuho reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $50.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research report on Monday, July 11th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $54.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research report on Thursday, July 14th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a research report on Thursday, April 28th. Finally, Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a research report on Monday, July 11th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Southern presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $51.77.

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

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 27th. The company reported $0.58 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $3.97 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.25 billion. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.56 EPS. Analysts predict that Southern Co. will post $2.85 EPS for the current year.

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

In other Southern news, CFO Art P. Beattie sold 123,207 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.12, for a total transaction of $6,667,962.84. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 75,141 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,066,630.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 182,225 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, April 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.77, for a total transaction of $9,069,338.25. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 200,680 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,987,843.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Aviance Capital Partners LLC raised its stake in Southern by 21.5% in the fourth quarter. Aviance Capital Partners LLC now owns 21,618 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,011,000 after buying an additional 3,825 shares in the last quarter. Home Federal Bank of Tennessee bought a new stake in Southern during the fourth quarter worth about $1,032,000. LLBH Private Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in Southern during the fourth quarter worth about $1,084,000. OppenheimerFunds Inc. bought a new stake in Southern during the fourth quarter worth about $1,119,000. Finally, Schnieders Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Southern by 37.4% in the fourth quarter. Schnieders Capital Management LLC now owns 24,362 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,140,000 after buying an additional 6,625 shares during the period.

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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