The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) Expected to Post Quarterly Sales of $5.95 Billion

Equities research analysts expect The Southern Company (NYSE:SOGet Rating) to report sales of $5.95 billion for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Two analysts have made estimates for Southern’s earnings. The highest sales estimate is $6.02 billion and the lowest is $5.87 billion. Southern posted sales of $5.91 billion in the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 0.7%. The firm is expected to issue its next earnings report before the market opens on Monday, January 1st.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Southern will report full-year sales of $24.08 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $23.65 billion to $24.49 billion. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the business will report sales of $24.85 billion, with estimates ranging from $24.47 billion to $25.24 billion. Zacks Investment Research’s sales calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that cover Southern.

Southern (NYSE:SOGet Rating) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 17th. The utilities provider reported $0.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.35 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $5.77 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.75 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 11.02% and a net margin of 10.42%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.47 EPS.

SO has been the topic of a number of research reports. Bank of America downgraded Southern from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their price target for the stock from $75.00 to $71.00 in a research note on Monday, February 7th. Wells Fargo & Company downgraded Southern from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and lowered their target price for the company from $73.00 to $72.00 in a research report on Monday, February 7th. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on Southern from $59.00 to $63.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 22nd. StockNews.com began coverage on Southern in a research report on Thursday, March 31st. They set a “hold” rating on the stock. Finally, Scotiabank downgraded Southern from a “sector outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 15th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat, the company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $70.22.

SO stock opened at $74.48 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $78.97 billion, a P/E ratio of 32.96, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 5.38 and a beta of 0.52. Southern has a 1 year low of $60.12 and a 1 year high of $76.87. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.55, a current ratio of 0.82 and a quick ratio of 0.64. The stock’s fifty day moving average price is $68.50 and its 200-day moving average price is $66.08.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, March 7th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, February 22nd were given a $0.66 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, February 18th. This represents a $2.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.54%. Southern’s payout ratio is 116.81%.

In other news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,500 shares of Southern stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.80, for a total value of $169,500.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Ann P. Daiss sold 7,500 shares of Southern stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.47, for a total value of $506,025.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 332,516 shares of company stock worth $23,808,569 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.43% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Morgan Stanley grew its stake in shares of Southern by 24.4% during the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 5,433,970 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $328,808,000 after buying an additional 1,064,450 shares during the last quarter. Keudell Morrison Wealth Management grew its stake in shares of Southern by 1.2% during the third quarter. Keudell Morrison Wealth Management now owns 18,794 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,165,000 after buying an additional 225 shares during the last quarter. Boston Trust Walden Corp grew its stake in shares of Southern by 1.8% during the third quarter. Boston Trust Walden Corp now owns 12,389 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $768,000 after buying an additional 214 shares during the last quarter. OLD National Bancorp IN grew its stake in shares of Southern by 63.4% during the third quarter. OLD National Bancorp IN now owns 13,689 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $849,000 after buying an additional 5,312 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Naples Global Advisors LLC grew its stake in shares of Southern by 1.1% during the third quarter. Naples Global Advisors LLC now owns 71,416 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,426,000 after buying an additional 763 shares during the last quarter. 59.24% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Southern Company Profile (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.

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