Morgan Stanley Lowers Southern (NYSE:SO) Price Target to $68.00

Southern (NYSE:SOGet Rating) had its target price trimmed by Morgan Stanley from $69.00 to $68.00 in a report issued on Thursday morning, Stock Target Advisor reports. The brokerage currently has an underweight rating on the utilities provider’s stock.

SO has been the subject of several other research reports. Argus boosted their price objective on shares of Southern from $83.00 to $87.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. Seaport Res Ptn reiterated a buy rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Thursday, June 30th. BMO Capital Markets reduced their price objective on shares of Southern from $81.00 to $70.00 and set a market perform rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, June 22nd. UBS Group upgraded shares of Southern from a neutral rating to a buy rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $76.00 to $87.00 in a research note on Thursday, August 4th. Finally, Barclays cut their price target on shares of Southern from $82.00 to $79.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 18th. Three 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. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, Southern currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $75.58.

Southern Price Performance

Shares of SO opened at $75.94 on Thursday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $77.03 and a 200-day moving average price of $74.00. Southern has a fifty-two week low of $60.99 and a fifty-two week high of $80.57. The stock has a market capitalization of $80.72 billion, a PE ratio of 26.74, a PEG ratio of 5.31 and a beta of 0.50. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.55, a quick ratio of 0.67 and a current ratio of 0.85.

Southern (NYSE:SOGet Rating) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The utilities provider reported $1.07 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.84 by $0.23. Southern had a net margin of 12.13% and a return on equity of 12.09%. The firm had revenue of $7.21 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.31 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.84 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 38.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts predict that Southern will post 3.63 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Southern Dividend Announcement

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 15th were issued a $0.68 dividend. This represents a $2.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.58%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 12th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 95.77%.

Insider Activity

In other news, EVP James Y. Kerr II sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $76.00, for a total value of $1,900,000.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 136,987 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,411,012. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. In related news, EVP James Y. Kerr II sold 25,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, July 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $76.00, for a total transaction of $1,900,000.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 136,987 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,411,012. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 14,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on 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 sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 115,284 shares in the company, valued at $8,406,509.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 54,000 shares of company stock valued at $4,109,655 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.37% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Trading of Southern

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SO. Rockefeller Capital Management L.P. lifted its holdings in Southern by 19.7% during the fourth quarter. Rockefeller Capital Management L.P. now owns 45,610 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,127,000 after purchasing an additional 7,516 shares in the last quarter. Mutual Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in Southern by 1.1% during the fourth quarter. Mutual Advisors LLC now owns 18,979 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,302,000 after purchasing an additional 213 shares in the last quarter. Nissay Asset Management Corp Japan ADV lifted its holdings in Southern by 3.3% during the fourth quarter. Nissay Asset Management Corp Japan ADV now owns 115,066 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $7,891,000 after purchasing an additional 3,632 shares in the last quarter. Blair William & Co. IL lifted its holdings in Southern by 3.9% during the fourth quarter. Blair William & Co. IL now owns 95,185 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $6,528,000 after purchasing an additional 3,564 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Fifth Lane Capital LP purchased a new position in Southern during the fourth quarter valued at $234,000. 62.20% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Southern

(Get Rating)

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.

See Also

Analyst Recommendations for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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