Sheets Smith Wealth Management lifted its stake in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 1.2% in the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The fund owned 20,414 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after acquiring an additional 242 shares during the period. Sheets Smith Wealth Management’s holdings in Southern were worth $1,055,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Old Port Advisors bought a new stake in Southern during the first quarter worth about $205,000. Wesbanco Bank Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Southern by 4.7% in the first quarter. Wesbanco Bank Inc. now owns 66,022 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,412,000 after buying an additional 2,964 shares in the last quarter. Financial Architects Inc lifted its stake in shares of Southern by 11.7% in the fourth quarter. Financial Architects Inc now owns 17,924 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $787,000 after buying an additional 1,877 shares in the last quarter. American Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Southern by 13.4% in the fourth quarter. American Asset Management Inc. now owns 13,520 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $594,000 after buying an additional 1,595 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Monte Financial Group LLC lifted its stake in shares of Southern by 2.3% in the first quarter. Monte Financial Group LLC now owns 62,474 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,229,000 after buying an additional 1,394 shares in the last quarter. 56.63% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
SO has been the subject of several research reports. Mizuho boosted their price objective on shares of Southern from $48.50 to $55.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, June 13th. KeyCorp initiated coverage on shares of Southern in a report on Tuesday, June 4th. They set a “sector weight” rating for the company. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 14th. ValuEngine raised shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, May 10th. Finally, Barclays reissued a “hold” rating and set a $57.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a report on Wednesday, June 19th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. Southern presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $49.67.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, May 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.70. The business had revenue of $5.41 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.66 billion. Southern had a net margin of 15.03% and a return on equity of 10.37%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 15.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.88 EPS. As a group, analysts predict that Southern Co will post 3.03 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th were issued a $0.62 dividend. This is a boost from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.49%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, May 17th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 80.78%.
In related news, CEO William P. Bowers sold 233,477 shares of Southern stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, April 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.29, for a total value of $11,975,035.33. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 354,212 shares in the company, valued at approximately $18,167,533.48. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Mark A. Crosswhite sold 267,442 shares of Southern stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.42, for a total transaction of $14,554,193.64. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 125,727 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,842,063.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 988,874 shares of company stock worth $53,491,477 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.88% of the company’s stock.
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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