Leavell Investment Management Inc. Increases Position in Southern Co (NYSE:SO)

Leavell Investment Management Inc. increased its position in Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 0.7% in the third quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 140,625 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after purchasing an additional 961 shares during the period. Leavell Investment Management Inc.’s holdings in Southern were worth $7,625,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other large investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the stock. State Street Corp grew its stake in Southern by 0.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 57,756,219 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,126,922,000 after purchasing an additional 541,205 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC grew its stake in Southern by 11.0% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 14,378,464 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $745,524,000 after purchasing an additional 1,420,920 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in Southern by 1.4% in the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 10,328,722 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $535,544,000 after purchasing an additional 141,293 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System grew its stake in Southern by 5.9% in the second quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 8,623,443 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $447,126,000 after purchasing an additional 480,760 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of America Corp DE grew its stake in Southern by 7.8% in the second quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 7,342,948 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $380,731,000 after purchasing an additional 533,328 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 57.29% of the company’s stock.

SO has been the subject of a number of research reports. Mizuho lifted their target price on Southern from $48.00 to $53.00 in a research note on Wednesday. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on Southern from $57.00 to $60.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 20th. Barclays upgraded Southern from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $61.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, September 21st. UBS Group decreased their target price on Southern from $57.00 to $55.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, September 1st. Finally, KeyCorp lifted their target price on Southern from $65.00 to $66.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, October 19th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $62.50.

In related news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.00, for a total transaction of $137,500.00. Also, Director David J. Grain sold 10,291 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.92, for a total value of $544,599.72. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 791 shares in the company, valued at approximately $41,859.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 21,221 shares of company stock worth $1,163,540. 0.39% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Shares of NYSE:SO opened at $58.36 on Thursday. Southern Co has a 12 month low of $41.96 and a 12 month high of $71.10. The stock has a market cap of $61.64 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.95, a PEG ratio of 4.58 and a beta of 0.38. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $55.95 and its 200 day moving average price is $55.05. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.46, a current ratio of 0.97 and a quick ratio of 0.75.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 30th. The utilities provider reported $0.78 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.11. Southern had a return on equity of 10.47% and a net margin of 15.83%. The firm had revenue of $4.62 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.93 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.80 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Southern Co will post 3.16 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 7th. Investors of record on Monday, November 16th will be issued a dividend of $0.64 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, November 13th. This represents a $2.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.39%. Southern’s payout ratio is 82.32%.

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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