Equities analysts forecast that Southern Co (NYSE:SO) will post $0.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Two analysts have issued estimates for Southern’s earnings, with estimates ranging from $0.26 to $0.44. Southern posted earnings of $0.25 per share during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 36%. The business is scheduled to issue its next quarterly earnings report on Wednesday, February 19th.

On average, analysts expect that Southern will report full year earnings of $3.09 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.04 to $3.12. For the next fiscal year, analysts anticipate that the firm will report earnings of $3.18 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.13 to $3.25. Zacks Investment Research’s earnings per share calculations are a mean average based on a survey of analysts that cover Southern.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 30th. The utilities provider reported $1.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.20. Southern had a return on equity of 10.52% and a net margin of 21.02%. The business had revenue of $6 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.01 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.14 EPS. Southern’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year.

SO has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Bank of America raised their price target on Southern from $60.00 to $64.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 12th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 6th. UBS Group lifted their price objective on Southern from $58.00 to $62.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, September 6th. Morgan Stanley reduced their target price on Southern from $55.00 to $54.00 and set an “underweight” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, August 16th. Finally, SunTrust Banks set a $59.00 target price on Southern and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 3rd. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and eleven have issued a hold rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $56.41.

Southern stock traded up $0.71 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $62.31. The stock had a trading volume of 253,256 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,067,259. The company has a fifty day simple moving average of $61.78 and a 200-day simple moving average of $58.36. Southern has a 52 week low of $42.50 and a 52 week high of $63.29. The stock has a market cap of $65.01 billion, a PE ratio of 20.30, a PEG ratio of 4.45 and a beta of 0.14. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37, a current ratio of 0.94 and a quick ratio of 0.77.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, November 18th will be issued a dividend of $0.62 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 15th. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.98%. Southern’s payout ratio is 80.78%.

In other Southern news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.22, for a total value of $124,440.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 65,772 shares in the company, valued at $4,092,333.84. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP James Y. Kerr II sold 25,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.16, for a total transaction of $1,504,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 67,655 shares in the company, valued at $4,070,124.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 175,533 shares of company stock valued at $10,825,427 in the last ninety days. 0.88% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. CWM LLC grew its holdings in shares of Southern by 31.4% during the third quarter. CWM LLC now owns 402,808 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $24,881,000 after buying an additional 96,358 shares during the last quarter. Invesco Ltd. raised its stake in Southern by 22.4% in the second quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 7,200,728 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $398,057,000 after purchasing an additional 1,319,096 shares in the last quarter. Outlook Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its position in Southern by 2.7% during the second quarter. Outlook Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 10,637 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $588,000 after purchasing an additional 281 shares during the last quarter. Cahaba Wealth Management Inc. lifted its position in Southern by 3.5% during the third quarter. Cahaba Wealth Management Inc. now owns 98,450 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $6,081,000 after purchasing an additional 3,287 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Northstar Investment Advisors LLC grew its stake in Southern by 14.1% in the 3rd quarter. Northstar Investment Advisors LLC now owns 160,919 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $9,375,000 after buying an additional 19,833 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 58.99% of the company’s stock.

About Southern

The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It operates in four segments: Gas Distribution Operations, Gas Pipeline Investments, Wholesale Gas Services, and Gas Marketing Services. The company also constructs, acquires, owns, and manages power generation assets, including renewable energy facilities and sells electricity in the wholesale market; and distributes natural gas in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee, as well as provides gas marketing services, wholesale gas services, and gas pipeline investments operations.

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