Macquarie Group Ltd. lessened its stake in The Southern Company (NYSE:SO – Free Report) by 4.4% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 850,629 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 38,840 shares during the quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. owned about 0.08% of Southern worth $59,948,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of SO. MRP Capital Investments LLC purchased a new position in shares of Southern during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $30,000. Sanctuary Wealth Management L.L.C. bought a new position in Southern during the fourth quarter worth $34,000. Tanglewood Legacy Advisors LLC bought a new position in Southern during the fourth quarter worth $36,000. TD Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Southern by 122.0% in the first quarter. TD Capital Management LLC now owns 546 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $38,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in Southern in the first quarter valued at $42,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.85% of the company’s stock.
Insider Activity at Southern
In related news, EVP Martin Bernard Davis sold 1,490 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.05, for a total value of $99,904.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 72,756 shares in the company, valued at $4,878,289.80. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. In other news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, September 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.83, for a total transaction of $339,150.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 121,284 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,226,693.72. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Martin Bernard Davis sold 1,490 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.05, for a total value of $99,904.50. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 72,756 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,878,289.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 41,490 shares of company stock worth $2,934,355. 0.28% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Southern Trading Up 1.3 %
Southern (NYSE:SO – Get Free Report) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.79 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.05. Southern had a return on equity of 9.86% and a net margin of 11.17%. The firm had revenue of $5.75 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.47 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.07 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 20.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, research analysts predict that The Southern Company will post 3.6 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Southern Dividend Announcement
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, September 6th. Investors of record on Monday, August 21st were paid a $0.70 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 18th. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.03%. Southern’s payout ratio is 98.94%.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades
A number of research firms have issued reports on SO. StockNews.com assumed coverage on Southern in a research note on Saturday, August 19th. They issued a “sell” rating on the stock. The Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Southern from a “buy” rating to a “conviction-buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 3rd. Guggenheim dropped their price target on Southern from $79.00 to $77.00 in a research note on Friday, July 7th. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their price target on Southern from $78.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. Finally, Barclays began coverage on Southern in a research note on Wednesday, August 23rd. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $68.00 price target on the stock. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat, the stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $74.00.
The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It operates through three segments: Gas Distribution Operations, Gas Pipeline Investments, and Gas Marketing Services. 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, gas distribution operations, and gas pipeline investments operations.
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