Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) was the recipient of a significant increase in short interest during the month of November. As of November 15th, there was short interest totalling 20,861,216 shares, an increase of 30.8% from the October 31st total of 15,944,261 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 7,310,253 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 2.9 days. Currently, 2.1% of the company’s shares are short sold.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of SO. World Asset Management Inc raised its stake in shares of Southern by 3.5% in the second quarter. World Asset Management Inc now owns 96,154 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,157,000 after buying an additional 3,246 shares during the period. Huntington National Bank raised its stake in shares of Southern by 167.6% in the second quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 255,875 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,723,000 after buying an additional 160,243 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in shares of Southern by 0.5% in the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 10,577,864 shares of the company’s stock valued at $567,291,000 after buying an additional 57,511 shares during the period. Atalanta Sosnoff Capital LLC raised its stake in shares of Southern by 3,155.2% in the second quarter. Atalanta Sosnoff Capital LLC now owns 394,526 shares of the company’s stock valued at $21,159,000 after buying an additional 382,406 shares during the period. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its stake in shares of Southern by 4.7% in the third quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 404,860 shares of the company’s stock valued at $20,769,000 after buying an additional 18,197 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 50.49% of the company’s stock.

A number of research firms have recently commented on SO. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Thursday, August 4th. SunTrust Banks Inc. cut their price target on shares of Southern from $52.00 to $51.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, September 12th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $60.00 price target on the stock in a report on Tuesday, September 27th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $53.50.

Shares of Southern (NYSE:SO) opened at 46.82 on Thursday. Southern has a 12-month low of $43.72 and a 12-month high of $54.64. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $49.46 and a 200-day moving average of $51.14. The company has a market capitalization of $45.88 billion, a PE ratio of 17.58 and a beta of 0.07.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, October 31st. The company reported $1.28 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.17 by $0.11. Southern had a return on equity of 12.69% and a net margin of 14.14%. The business had revenue of $6.26 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.41 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.17 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 16.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that Southern will post $2.90 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 6th. Investors of record on Monday, November 21st will be issued a $0.56 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 17th. This represents a $2.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.78%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 83.27%.

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About Southern

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:SO

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