American Trust reduced its stake in shares of The Southern Company (NYSE:SO – Get Rating) by 8.6% during the 1st quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 4,195 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 397 shares during the period. American Trust’s holdings in Southern were worth $304,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other large investors also recently modified their holdings of SO. State Street Corp grew its holdings in shares of Southern by 19.4% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 62,701,855 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,546,512,000 after purchasing an additional 10,192,044 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Southern during the 4th quarter worth $268,032,000. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its holdings in shares of Southern by 78.9% during the 1st quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,644,781 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $264,284,000 after purchasing an additional 1,607,524 shares in the last quarter. Ensign Peak Advisors Inc boosted its stake in Southern by 81.4% in the first quarter. Ensign Peak Advisors Inc now owns 3,229,577 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $234,178,000 after buying an additional 1,449,639 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Verity Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in Southern by 13,012.4% in the first quarter. Verity Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,100,917 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $700,000 after buying an additional 1,092,521 shares in the last quarter. 62.20% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Wall Street Analysts Forecast Growth
Several analysts recently weighed in on the company. UBS Group raised Southern from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price objective for the company from $76.00 to $87.00 in a research note on Thursday, August 4th. Barclays reduced their price objective on Southern from $82.00 to $79.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 18th. Argus raised their price objective on Southern from $83.00 to $87.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. BMO Capital Markets reduced their price objective on Southern from $81.00 to $70.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, June 22nd. Finally, Guggenheim raised their price objective on Southern from $76.00 to $80.00 in a research note on Thursday, July 21st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to data from MarketBeat, the company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $75.67.
Southern Price Performance
Southern (NYSE:SO – Get Rating) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 28th. The utilities provider reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.84 by $0.23. Southern had a return on equity of 12.09% and a net margin of 12.13%. The company had revenue of $7.21 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.31 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.84 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 38.6% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that The Southern Company will post 3.63 earnings per share for the current year.
Southern Dividend Announcement
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 15th were given a dividend of $0.68 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 12th. This represents a $2.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.52%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 95.77%.
Insider Transactions at Southern
In other news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 14,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.92, for a total transaction of $1,057,340.00. Following the completion of the transaction, 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 through this hyperlink. In other Southern news, EVP James Y. Kerr II sold 25,000 shares of Southern stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.00, for a total value of $1,900,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 136,987 shares in the company, valued at $10,411,012. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 14,500 shares of Southern stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.92, for a total value of $1,057,340.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 115,284 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,406,509.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 54,000 shares of company stock worth $4,109,655 over the last ninety days. 0.37% of the stock is owned by insiders.
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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