Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) shares fell 1.3% during trading on Monday . The stock traded as low as $51.66 and last traded at $51.67, with a volume of 2,046,805 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $52.35.

Several research firms have recently commented on SO. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Thursday, August 4th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 11th. Howard Weil began coverage on shares of Southern in a research note on Friday, May 13th. They set a “sector perform” rating and a $52.00 target price for the company. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Tuesday, April 19th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned 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 a consensus target price of $52.32.

The company has a 50 day moving average price of $53.33 and a 200-day moving average price of $50.70. The firm has a market cap of $48.48 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.44.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.74 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.70 by $0.04. The business 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 company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that Southern Co. will post $2.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 15th will be paid a $0.56 dividend. This represents a $2.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.35%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 11th.

In other news, CEO Mark Lantrip sold 35,884 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.00, for a total value of $1,937,736.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 41,934 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,264,436. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Stan W. Connally sold 14,392 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.75, for a total transaction of $773,570.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 17,716 shares in the company, valued at approximately $952,235. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of large investors recently modified their holdings of the company. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Southern by 3.3% in the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,201,611 shares of the company’s stock worth $56,223,000 after buying an additional 38,386 shares in the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Southern by 44.6% in the fourth quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 71,867 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,363,000 after buying an additional 22,183 shares in the last quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. raised its stake in shares of Southern by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 614,533 shares of the company’s stock worth $28,752,000 after buying an additional 1,596 shares in the last quarter. Homrich & Berg raised its stake in shares of Southern by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. Homrich & Berg now owns 64,526 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,019,000 after buying an additional 2,471 shares in the last quarter. Finally, I.G. Investment Management LTD. raised its stake in shares of Southern by 40.9% in the fourth quarter. I.G. Investment Management LTD. now owns 115,139 shares of the company’s stock worth $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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