Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc. raised its position in Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) by 3.4% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 102,166 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after buying an additional 3,400 shares during the period. Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc.’s holdings in Southern Company (The) were worth $4,892,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the company. Gierl Augustine Investment Management Inc raised its position in Southern Company (The) by 8.8% in the first quarter. Gierl Augustine Investment Management Inc now owns 72,041 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,586,000 after buying an additional 5,844 shares during the last quarter. First National Bank of Omaha raised its position in Southern Company (The) by 0.5% in the second quarter. First National Bank of Omaha now owns 15,070 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $721,000 after buying an additional 70 shares during the last quarter. AlphaMark Advisors LLC raised 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 during the last quarter. Vicus Capital raised its position in Southern Company (The) by 11.9% in the first quarter. Vicus Capital now owns 16,423 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $818,000 after buying an additional 1,745 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Elkfork Partners LLC raised its position in Southern Company (The) by 23.9% in the first quarter. Elkfork Partners LLC now owns 695,470 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $34,620,000 after buying an additional 134,062 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 53.57% of the company’s stock.

Southern Company (NYSE SO) traded down 0.80% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $48.42. 3,227,618 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $48.08 and its 200-day moving average price is $49.46. Southern Company has a 52 week low of $46.20 and a 52 week high of $53.73. The stock has a market capitalization of $48.39 billion, a P/E ratio of 79.64 and a beta of 0.12.

Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.73 earnings per share (EPS) 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 company had revenue of $5.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.23 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.74 EPS. Southern Company (The)’s revenue was up 21.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Southern Company will post $2.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, September 6th. Investors of record on Monday, August 21st will be given 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 4.79%. Southern Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 346.27%.

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Several equities analysts recently issued reports on SO shares. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Southern Company (The) in a report on Monday, May 15th. Barclays PLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 price target 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 lifted their price target for the company from $50.00 to $52.00 in a research note on Tuesday, August 1st. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $53.00 price target 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. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $48.79.

In related news, insider Ann P. Daiss sold 5,000 shares of Southern Company (The) stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.28, for a total transaction of $256,400.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 7,394 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $379,164.32. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 75,144 shares of Southern Company (The) 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 transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 85,298 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,204,338.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 152,084 shares of company stock valued at $7,665,158. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by corporate 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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