Zacks: Analysts Expect Southern Co (NYSE:SO) Will Announce Quarterly Sales of $5.23 Billion

Analysts predict that Southern Co (NYSE:SO) will report $5.23 billion in sales for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Two analysts have issued estimates for Southern’s earnings, with the lowest sales estimate coming in at $5.02 billion and the highest estimate coming in at $5.43 billion. Southern reported sales of $5.34 billion during the same quarter last year, which indicates a negative year over year growth rate of 2.1%. The firm is expected to announce its next earnings results on Wednesday, February 19th.

On average, analysts expect that Southern will report full year sales of $21.69 billion for the current fiscal year, with estimates ranging from $21.53 billion to $21.83 billion. For the next year, analysts anticipate that the business will report sales of $22.26 billion, with estimates ranging from $21.84 billion to $22.62 billion. Zacks Investment Research’s sales averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow Southern.

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

SO has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. Bank of America lifted their price objective on shares of Southern from $60.00 to $64.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 12th. Morgan Stanley cut their target price on Southern from $55.00 to $54.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, August 16th. SunTrust Banks set a $59.00 target price on Southern and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 3rd. 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. Finally, Evercore ISI reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $63.50 price target on shares of Southern in a research note on Thursday, November 28th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and eleven have issued a hold rating to the stock. Southern presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $56.41.

Shares of SO traded down $0.62 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $62.14. 3,474,007 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 4,112,822. The company has a market cap of $65.82 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.24, a P/E/G ratio of 4.51 and a beta of 0.14. Southern has a fifty-two week low of $42.50 and a fifty-two week high of $63.29. The company has a quick ratio of 0.77, a current ratio of 0.94 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37. The firm’s fifty day moving average is $61.89 and its 200 day moving average is $58.53.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 6th. Investors of record on Monday, November 18th were given a dividend of $0.62 per share. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.99%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, November 15th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is 80.78%.

In other Southern news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 123,533 shares of the 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 completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 191,305 shares in the company, valued at $11,836,040.35. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Stan W. Connally sold 4,755 shares of Southern stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $16.76, for a total value of $79,693.80. In the last three months, insiders sold 157,288 shares of company stock valued at $9,525,281. 0.88% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Resources Management Corp CT ADV bought a new stake in shares of Southern in the third quarter worth $718,000. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY lifted its holdings in Southern by 0.9% during the 3rd quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY now owns 158,279 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $9,777,000 after buying an additional 1,344 shares during the period. Squarepoint Ops LLC lifted its holdings in Southern by 13.6% during the 3rd quarter. Squarepoint Ops LLC now owns 456,443 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $28,194,000 after buying an additional 54,788 shares during the period. Zimmer Partners LP lifted its holdings in Southern by 126.5% during the 3rd quarter. Zimmer Partners LP now owns 2,704,340 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $167,047,000 after buying an additional 1,510,340 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of Hawaii grew its position in shares of Southern by 2.4% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of Hawaii now owns 46,027 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,843,000 after buying an additional 1,072 shares during the last quarter. 58.99% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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