Shares of Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) have been assigned a consensus recommendation of “Hold” from the seventeen ratings firms that are presently covering the company, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, seven have assigned a hold recommendation and seven have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average 12 month price objective among brokers that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $49.40.

Several equities analysts have recently issued reports on SO shares. Zacks Investment Research lowered Southern Company (The) from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, June 16th. BidaskClub lowered Southern Company (The) from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Macquarie upgraded Southern Company (The) from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $52.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 10th. Morgan Stanley decreased their price target on Southern Company (The) from $53.00 to $51.00 and set an “underweight” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, June 23rd. Finally, KeyCorp reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Friday, September 1st.

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Shares of Southern Company (SO) traded down 0.91% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $48.82. The stock had a trading volume of 4,155,543 shares. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $48.99 and a 200 day moving average price of $49.45. Southern Company has a 52 week low of $46.20 and a 52 week high of $53.73. The firm has a market cap of $48.79 billion, a PE ratio of 80.30 and a beta of 0.13.

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 the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.02. Southern Company (The) had a return on equity of 11.30% and a net margin of 2.93%. The company had revenue of $5.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.23 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.74 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 21.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Southern Company will post $2.94 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, September 6th. Investors of record on Monday, August 21st were given a dividend of $0.58 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 17th. This represents a $2.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.75%. Southern Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio is currently 346.27%.

In related news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 75,144 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.29, for a total transaction of $3,703,847.76. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 85,298 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,204,338.42. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. MPS Loria Financial Planners LLC acquired a new position in Southern Company (The) during the 2nd quarter worth about $148,000. W. E. Donoghue & Co. LLC acquired a new position in Southern Company (The) during the 2nd quarter worth about $15,030,000. Intl Fcstone Inc. lifted its holdings in Southern Company (The) by 88.9% during the 2nd quarter. Intl Fcstone Inc. now owns 19,622 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $939,000 after buying an additional 9,232 shares during the period. Griffin Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in Southern Company (The) during the 2nd quarter worth about $1,703,000. Finally, Aldebaran Financial Inc. lifted its holdings in Southern Company (The) by 6.3% during the 2nd quarter. Aldebaran Financial Inc. now owns 18,429 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $882,000 after buying an additional 1,100 shares during the period. 53.28% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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.

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

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