Columbia Asset Management boosted its stake in shares of Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) by 7.1% during the first quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 22,705 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after buying an additional 1,501 shares during the period. Columbia Asset Management’s holdings in Southern Company (The) were worth $1,130,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in SO. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. boosted its position in Southern Company (The) by 10.8% in the first quarter. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. now owns 2,050 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. Symmetry Partners LLC purchased a new position in Southern Company (The) during the first quarter valued at $103,000. Feltz Wealth PLAN Inc. purchased a new position in Southern Company (The) during the first quarter valued at $108,000. Stuart Chaussee & Associates Inc. boosted its position in Southern Company (The) by 358.8% in the first quarter. Stuart Chaussee & Associates Inc. now owns 2,225 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 1,740 shares in the last quarter. Finally, AlphaMark Advisors LLC boosted its position in Southern Company (The) by 115.7% in the first quarter. AlphaMark Advisors LLC now owns 2,349 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $117,000 after buying an additional 1,260 shares in the last quarter. 53.57% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Southern Company (NYSE:SO) traded down 0.51% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $48.87. The stock had a trading volume of 933,122 shares. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $48.43 and a 200-day moving average price of $49.48. Southern Company has a 52 week low of $46.20 and a 52 week high of $53.73. The stock has a market cap of $48.84 billion, a P/E ratio of 80.38 and a beta of 0.12.

Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.73 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $5.43 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.23 billion. Southern Company (The) had a return on equity of 11.30% and a net margin of 2.93%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 21.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.74 EPS. Equities analysts expect that Southern Company will post $2.95 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, September 6th. Investors of record on Monday, August 21st will be issued a dividend of $0.58 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 17th. This represents a $2.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.72%. Southern Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 346.27%.

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SO has been the subject of several analyst reports. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Monday, May 15th. Barclays PLC reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Monday, May 15th. Deutsche Bank AG raised shares of Southern Company (The) from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their target price for the company from $50.00 to $52.00 in a research note on Tuesday, August 1st. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $53.00 target price on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of Southern Company (The) from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, August 4th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. Southern Company (The) has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $48.87.

In related news, insider Ann P. Daiss sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.28, for a total transaction of $256,400.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 7,394 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $379,164.32. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 75,144 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.29, for a total value of $3,703,847.76. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 85,298 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,204,338.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 152,084 shares of company stock worth $7,665,158 in the last three months. 0.74% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

About Southern Company (The)

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.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO)

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