Covington Capital Management increased its stake in The Southern Company (NYSE:SO – Get Rating) by 7.4% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 6,953 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after buying an additional 481 shares during the quarter. Covington Capital Management’s holdings in Southern were worth $473,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Other large investors have also modified their holdings of the company. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA boosted its position in Southern by 1.4% during the third quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA now owns 11,741 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $798,000 after purchasing an additional 159 shares during the last quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV boosted its position in Southern by 0.8% during the third quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 19,302 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,313,000 after purchasing an additional 162 shares during the last quarter. Greenwood Gearhart Inc. boosted its position in Southern by 5.6% during the third quarter. Greenwood Gearhart Inc. now owns 3,131 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $213,000 after purchasing an additional 165 shares during the last quarter. MV Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in Southern by 15.6% during the third quarter. MV Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,230 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $84,000 after purchasing an additional 166 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Doyle Wealth Management lifted its position in shares of Southern by 0.4% in the third quarter. Doyle Wealth Management now owns 46,940 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,192,000 after buying an additional 167 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 61.78% of the company’s stock.
Analyst Ratings Changes
SO has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Wells Fargo & Company reduced their price target on Southern from $73.00 to $71.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, February 17th. Wolfe Research upgraded Southern from a “peer perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $76.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday, December 12th. StockNews.com lowered Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 7th. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price objective on Southern from $60.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an “underperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 18th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada dropped their price objective on Southern from $79.00 to $78.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, March 2nd. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $71.93.
Insider Transactions at Southern
Southern Stock Performance
Shares of Southern stock opened at $66.18 on Wednesday. The firm has a fifty day moving average of $67.08 and a two-hundred day moving average of $68.75. The stock has a market capitalization of $72.06 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.18, a PEG ratio of 4.42 and a beta of 0.49. The Southern Company has a 52 week low of $58.85 and a 52 week high of $80.57. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.47, a quick ratio of 0.52 and a current ratio of 0.66.
Southern (NYSE:SO – Get Rating) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 16th. The utilities provider reported $0.26 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.24 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $7.05 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.83 billion. Southern had a net margin of 12.40% and a return on equity of 11.73%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 22.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.36 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts predict that The Southern Company will post 3.62 EPS for the current year.
Southern Dividend Announcement
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, March 6th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, February 21st were issued a dividend of $0.68 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, February 17th. This represents a $2.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.11%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is presently 82.93%.
Southern Company Profile
The Southern Co is a holding company, which engages in the generation and sale of electricity. It operates through the following segments: Traditional Electric Operating Companies, Southern Power and Southern Company Gas. The Traditional Electric Operating Companies segment refers to vertically integrated utilities that own generation, transmission and distribution facilities, and supplies electric services in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi.
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