Southern (NYSE:SO) Coverage Initiated at Credit Suisse Group

Credit Suisse Group began coverage on shares of Southern (NYSE:SOGet Rating) in a research note issued to investors on Monday, The Fly reports. The brokerage set an “underperform” rating on the utilities provider’s stock.

A number of other research firms have also recently commented on SO. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on Southern from $63.00 to $68.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 20th. KeyCorp lifted their target price on Southern from $69.00 to $71.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Thursday, January 13th. Wells Fargo & Company lifted their target price on Southern from $68.00 to $80.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 19th. StockNews.com began coverage on Southern in a report on Thursday, March 31st. They set a “hold” rating for the company. Finally, Mizuho lifted their target price on Southern from $67.00 to $76.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat, the stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $73.44.

NYSE:SO traded down $0.94 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $74.97. 7,424,044 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 5,899,560. The company has a quick ratio of 0.64, a current ratio of 0.82 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.55. The firm’s 50-day simple moving average is $70.00 and its 200-day simple moving average is $66.95. Southern has a one year low of $60.12 and a one year high of $77.24. The company has a market cap of $79.49 billion, a PE ratio of 33.17, a PEG ratio of 5.38 and a beta of 0.52.

Southern (NYSE:SOGet Rating) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 17th. The utilities provider reported $0.36 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.35 by $0.01. Southern had a return on equity of 11.02% and a net margin of 10.42%. The business had revenue of $5.77 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.75 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.47 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 12.7% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Southern will post 3.56 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.80, for a total transaction of $169,500.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Kimberly S. Greene sold 100,005 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.05, for a total transaction of $7,005,350.25. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 332,516 shares of company stock worth $23,808,569 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.43% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of SO. Norges Bank purchased a new position in Southern in the fourth quarter worth about $268,032,000. Franklin Resources Inc. increased its holdings in Southern by 4.1% during the third quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 29,764,010 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,844,476,000 after buying an additional 1,182,130 shares during the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC increased its holdings in Southern by 195.4% during the fourth quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,591,856 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $109,169,000 after buying an additional 1,052,909 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its holdings in Southern by 62.3% during the third quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 2,446,100 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $151,585,000 after buying an additional 938,769 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Panagora Asset Management Inc. increased its holdings in Southern by 122.8% during the fourth quarter. Panagora Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,375,905 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $94,360,000 after buying an additional 758,323 shares during the last quarter. 59.24% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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