Southern Co. (NYSE:SO)’s share price gapped up prior to trading on Friday . The stock had previously closed at $52.25, but opened at $52.32. Southern shares last traded at $52.47, with a volume of 1,627,137 shares trading hands.

SO has been the topic of several recent research reports. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Thursday, August 4th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. restated a “neutral” rating and set a $54.00 target price on shares of Southern in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Barclays PLC upgraded shares of Southern from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and lifted their target price for the company from $54.00 to $62.00 in a report on Thursday, July 14th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Mizuho lifted their target price on shares of Southern from $50.00 to $52.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 12th. Finally, Argus restated a “buy” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $52.32.

The firm has a 50 day moving average of $53.32 and a 200-day moving average of $50.63. The company has a market capitalization of $49.29 billion and a P/E ratio of 20.78.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.74 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.04. The company earned $4.45 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.54 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.71 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that Southern Co. will post $2.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business 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 $0.56 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 11th. This represents a $2.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.28%.

In other Southern news, insider Ann P. Daiss sold 7,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.28, for a total value of $365,960.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 9,394 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $491,118.32. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Mark Lantrip sold 35,884 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.00, for a total transaction of $1,937,736.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 41,934 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,264,436. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds have bought and sold shares of SO. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in Southern by 3.3% in the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,201,611 shares of the company’s stock valued at $56,223,000 after buying an additional 38,386 shares in the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in Southern by 44.6% in the fourth quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 71,867 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,363,000 after buying an additional 22,183 shares in the last quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. increased its stake in Southern by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 614,533 shares of the company’s stock valued at $28,752,000 after buying an additional 1,596 shares in the last quarter. Homrich & Berg increased its stake in Southern by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. Homrich & Berg now owns 64,526 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,019,000 after buying an additional 2,471 shares in the last quarter. Finally, I.G. Investment Management LTD. increased its stake in Southern by 40.9% in the fourth quarter. I.G. Investment Management LTD. now owns 115,139 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,387,000 after buying an additional 33,397 shares in 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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