Investors Sell Southern (SO) on Strength (SO)

Traders sold shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) on strength during trading hours on Friday. $52.21 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $77.90 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $25.69 million out of the stock. Of all equities tracked, Southern had the 28th highest net out-flow for the day. Southern traded up $0.08 for the day and closed at $46.78

SO has been the topic of a number of analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, September 11th. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $56.00 price objective (up from $55.00) on shares of Southern in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Bank of America reissued an “underperform” rating and issued a $51.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research note on Tuesday, October 24th. SunTrust Banks reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $52.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Guggenheim raised Southern from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $49.00 to $56.00 in a research note on Thursday, September 14th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $49.25.

The company has a market cap of $46,950.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 83.54, a PEG ratio of 3.46 and a beta of 0.14. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.73, a quick ratio of 0.57 and a current ratio of 0.73.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $1.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.04. Southern had a return on equity of 10.81% and a net margin of 2.59%. The company had revenue of $6.20 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.16 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.27 earnings per share. Southern’s quarterly revenue was down 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts anticipate that Southern Co will post 2.96 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, December 6th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 20th were issued a dividend of $0.58 per share. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.96%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, November 17th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 414.29%.

In other Southern news, CEO William P. Bowers sold 85,151 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total transaction of $4,257,550.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 46,641 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.00, for a total value of $2,471,973.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 56,799 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,010,347. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 213,813 shares of company stock valued at $11,029,988. 1.00% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of SO. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Southern in the second quarter worth $100,000. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA purchased a new stake in Southern during the third quarter valued at about $105,000. Monroe Bank & Trust MI raised its position in Southern by 17.9% during the second quarter. Monroe Bank & Trust MI now owns 2,300 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $110,000 after purchasing an additional 350 shares in the last quarter. AlphaMark Advisors LLC raised its position in Southern by 0.6% during the second quarter. AlphaMark Advisors LLC now owns 2,363 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $113,000 after purchasing an additional 14 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC purchased a new stake in Southern during the third quarter valued at about $118,000. Institutional investors own 53.66% of the company’s stock.

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Southern Company Profile

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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