Southern Sees Unusually High Options Volume (SO)

Southern Co (NYSE:SO) was the recipient of unusually large options trading activity on Thursday. Traders acquired 75,898 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 5,275% compared to the typical volume of 1,412 call options.

In other news, insider Ann P. Daiss sold 7,850 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.06, for a total value of $424,371.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 17,862 shares in the company, valued at $965,619.72. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Henry A. Clark III acquired 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 5th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $50.19 per share, with a total value of $100,380.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 2,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $100,380. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders sold 267,249 shares of company stock valued at $13,714,078 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 0.73% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Sontag Advisory LLC bought a new stake in shares of Southern in the 4th quarter worth approximately $25,000. Tompkins Financial Corp bought a new stake in shares of Southern in the 1st quarter worth approximately $28,000. Lee Financial Co lifted its holdings in shares of Southern by 144.4% in the 1st quarter. Lee Financial Co now owns 550 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $28,000 after acquiring an additional 325 shares during the last quarter. Ellis Investment Partners LLC bought a new stake in shares of Southern in the 1st quarter worth approximately $29,000. Finally, Vigilant Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Southern in the 4th quarter worth approximately $30,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 56.59% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Southern stock opened at $53.82 on Friday. Southern has a 1 year low of $42.42 and a 1 year high of $54.28. The company has a market cap of $55.80 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.53, a P/E/G ratio of 3.94 and a beta of 0.21. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37, a current ratio of 0.88 and a quick ratio of 0.69.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, May 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.70 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.70. Southern had a net margin of 15.03% and a return on equity of 10.37%. The business had revenue of $5.41 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.66 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.88 earnings per share. Southern’s revenue for the quarter was down 15.1% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Southern will post 3.03 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 6th. Shareholders of record on Monday, May 20th will be given a dividend of $0.62 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 17th. This is a positive change from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.61%. Southern’s payout ratio is presently 78.18%.

SO has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Citigroup upgraded shares of Southern from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their price objective for the company from $45.00 to $50.00 in a research report on Thursday, January 24th. restated a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research report on Wednesday, February 13th. restated a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research report on Wednesday, February 13th. SunTrust Banks restated a “hold” rating and issued a $52.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research report on Monday, February 25th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, March 9th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $48.15.

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Southern Company Profile

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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