IFM Investors Pty Ltd grew its stake in The Southern Company (NYSE:SO – Get Rating) by 147.4% in the 1st quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 313,288 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after buying an additional 186,648 shares during the quarter. IFM Investors Pty Ltd’s holdings in Southern were worth $22,717,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Nepsis Inc. boosted its holdings in Southern by 1.3% during the first quarter. Nepsis Inc. now owns 29,436 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,134,000 after purchasing an additional 378 shares during the last quarter. Verus Financial Partners Inc. boosted its holdings in Southern by 7.5% during the first quarter. Verus Financial Partners Inc. now owns 6,345 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $479,000 after purchasing an additional 440 shares during the last quarter. Elwood & Goetz Wealth Advisory Group LLC boosted its holdings in Southern by 34.9% during the first quarter. Elwood & Goetz Wealth Advisory Group LLC now owns 4,734 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $343,000 after purchasing an additional 1,226 shares during the last quarter. City Holding Co. boosted its holdings in Southern by 1.1% during the first quarter. City Holding Co. now owns 53,179 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,856,000 after purchasing an additional 576 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC boosted its holdings in Southern by 6.1% during the first quarter. Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC now owns 9,060 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $657,000 after purchasing an additional 519 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 60.58% of the company’s stock.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades
Several research analysts recently commented on SO shares. BMO Capital Markets reduced their target price on shares of Southern from $81.00 to $70.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, June 22nd. UBS Group dropped their price target on shares of Southern from $83.00 to $76.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, June 30th. Wells Fargo & Company upped their price target on shares of Southern from $68.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 19th. Seaport Res Ptn reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Southern in a research report on Thursday, June 30th. Finally, Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on shares of Southern from $67.00 to $66.00 and set an “underweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, May 23rd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. According to MarketBeat.com, the stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $74.60.
Southern Price Performance
Southern (NYSE:SO – Get Rating) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The utilities provider reported $1.07 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.84 by $0.23. Southern had a net margin of 10.09% and a return on equity of 11.35%. The business had revenue of $7.21 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.31 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.84 earnings per share. Southern’s revenue was up 38.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts forecast that The Southern Company will post 3.57 EPS for the current year.
Southern Announces Dividend
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 6th. Investors of record on Monday, August 15th will be paid a $0.68 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, August 12th. This represents a $2.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.54%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 125.93%.
Insider Activity at Southern
In other Southern news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 14,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.92, for a total transaction of $1,057,340.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 115,284 shares in the company, valued at $8,406,509.28. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 43,500 shares of company stock worth $3,183,910. Corporate insiders own 0.37% of the company’s stock.
Southern Company Profile
The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It operates through Gas Distribution Operations, Gas Pipeline Investments, Wholesale Gas Services, and Gas Marketing Services segments. The company also develops, constructs, acquires, owns, and manages power generation assets, including renewable energy projects 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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