Research analysts at J P Morgan Chase & Co initiated coverage on shares of Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) in a report issued on Tuesday. The firm set an “overweight” rating and a $16.78 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co’s price target would indicate a potential downside of 65.84% from the company’s previous close.

Several other brokerages have also commented on SO. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “buy” rating and set a $55.00 target price (down from $56.00) on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research report on Thursday, May 4th. Deutsche Bank AG decreased their target price on shares of Southern Company (The) from $52.00 to $50.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, April 11th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Southern Company (The) from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, July 24th. Barclays PLC restated an “overweight” rating and set a $56.00 target price (up from $53.00) on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research report on Sunday, April 23rd. Finally, Mizuho restated a “neutral” rating and set a $49.50 target price on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research report on Wednesday, April 19th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. Southern Company (The) currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $48.87.

Southern Company (NYSE SO) traded up 0.24% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $49.12. 5,256,804 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $49.09 billion, a PE ratio of 80.79 and a beta of 0.12. Southern Company has a 12-month low of $46.20 and a 12-month high of $53.73. The company has a 50 day moving average of $48.43 and a 200-day moving average of $49.48.

Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.73 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.71 by $0.02. Southern Company (The) had a net margin of 2.93% and a return on equity of 11.30%. The firm had revenue of $5.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.23 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.74 EPS. Southern Company (The)’s quarterly revenue was up 21.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts forecast that Southern Company will post $2.95 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 75,144 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.29, for a total transaction of $3,703,847.76. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 85,298 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,204,338.42. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Mark Lantrip sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.50, for a total transaction of $1,287,500.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 31,080 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,600,620. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 152,084 shares of company stock valued at $7,665,158 in the last three months. 0.74% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Southern Company (The) by 2,961.9% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 62,067,822 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,089,736,000 after buying an additional 60,040,696 shares in the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its stake in shares of Southern Company (The) by 205.4% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 8,803,018 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $438,168,000 after buying an additional 5,920,212 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Southern Company (The) by 4.1% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 68,758,138 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,422,780,000 after buying an additional 2,688,854 shares during the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board raised its stake in shares of Southern Company (The) by 876.2% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 1,074,910 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $53,509,000 after buying an additional 964,800 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Swiss National Bank raised its stake in shares of Southern Company (The) by 20.3% in the first quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 4,978,424 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $247,826,000 after buying an additional 841,100 shares during the last quarter. 53.57% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Southern Company (The) Company Profile

The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional electric operating companies and the parent entities of Southern Power Company (Southern Power) and Southern Company Gas, and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Company’s segments include Gas distribution operations, Gas marketing services, Wholesale gas services, Gas midstream operations and All other.

Analyst Recommendations for Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO)

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