Girard Partners LTD. reduced its position in Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 13.5% in the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 4,622 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 721 shares during the quarter. Girard Partners LTD.’s holdings in Southern were worth $285,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Southern by 3.4% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 88,169,680 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,874,020,000 after purchasing an additional 2,923,497 shares during the period. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. lifted its holdings in Southern by 449.2% in the second quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 3,322,449 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $183,665,000 after acquiring an additional 2,717,467 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in Southern by 2.2% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 70,040,340 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,871,830,000 after acquiring an additional 1,479,813 shares during the period. Invesco Ltd. lifted its holdings 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 acquiring an additional 1,319,096 shares during the period. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its holdings in Southern by 19.0% in the second quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 7,614,081 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $420,906,000 after acquiring an additional 1,215,420 shares during the period. 58.51% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
SO has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. Bank of America raised their target price on Southern from $60.00 to $64.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, September 12th. ValuEngine downgraded Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 6th. SunTrust Banks set a $59.00 target price on Southern and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 3rd. Morgan Stanley reduced their target price on Southern from $55.00 to $54.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a report on Friday, August 16th. Finally, UBS Group raised their target price on Southern from $58.00 to $62.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, September 6th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $56.80.
In other news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.28, for a total value of $116,560.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 69,772 shares in the company, valued at $4,066,312.16. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 123,533 shares of Southern stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.87, for a total value of $7,642,986.71. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 191,305 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $11,836,040.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 177,533 shares of company stock valued at $10,941,987. Company insiders own 0.88% of the company’s stock.
Shares of SO stock opened at $61.85 on Thursday. Southern Co has a fifty-two week low of $42.50 and a fifty-two week high of $63.09. The stock has a market cap of $64.75 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.15, a P/E/G ratio of 4.45 and a beta of 0.15. The business has a fifty day simple moving average of $61.55 and a 200-day simple moving average of $57.19. The company has a quick ratio of 0.77, a current ratio of 0.94 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 30th. The utilities provider reported $1.34 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates 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 during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $6.01 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.14 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Southern Co will post 3.09 earnings per share for the current year.
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 given a $0.62 dividend. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.01%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 15th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is currently 80.78%.
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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