Morningstar Investment Services LLC Makes New $292,000 Investment in The Southern Company (NYSE:SO)

Morningstar Investment Services LLC acquired a new stake in shares of The Southern Company (NYSE:SOFree Report) during the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The firm acquired 4,155 shares of the utilities provider’s stock, valued at approximately $292,000.

A number of other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in Southern by 0.4% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 99,572,665 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $6,444,343,000 after purchasing an additional 352,023 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC lifted its position in Southern by 5.0% in the 3rd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 38,906,760 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,518,045,000 after buying an additional 1,838,857 shares during the last quarter. Capital International Investors boosted its stake in Southern by 53.2% in the fourth quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 16,444,163 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,153,065,000 after buying an additional 5,707,845 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp grew its position in Southern by 1.6% during the third quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 10,737,843 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $694,953,000 after acquiring an additional 163,986 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Morgan Stanley grew its position in Southern by 3.7% during the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 9,811,307 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $634,988,000 after acquiring an additional 349,122 shares during the last quarter. 64.10% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Southern Price Performance

SO opened at $77.94 on Friday. The company’s 50-day simple moving average is $75.09 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $71.48. The Southern Company has a 52-week low of $61.56 and a 52-week high of $80.84. The stock has a market capitalization of $85.22 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.14, a P/E/G ratio of 2.80 and a beta of 0.51. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.67, a quick ratio of 0.65 and a current ratio of 0.92.

Southern (NYSE:SOGet Free Report) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $1.03 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.90 by $0.13. The company had revenue of $6.65 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $6.59 billion. Southern had a net margin of 16.74% and a return on equity of 12.07%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.79 earnings per share. As a group, analysts predict that The Southern Company will post 4 EPS for the current year.

Southern Increases Dividend

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th were given a dividend of $0.72 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, May 17th. This represents a $2.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.70%. This is a positive change from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.70. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is presently 74.42%.

Insider Transactions at Southern

In related news, CEO Kimberly S. Greene sold 9,126 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.04, for a total transaction of $684,815.04. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 121,504 shares in the company, valued at $9,117,660.16. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. In related news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.92, for a total value of $344,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 126,528 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,720,309.76. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Kimberly S. Greene sold 9,126 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.04, for a total transaction of $684,815.04. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 121,504 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,117,660.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.18% of the company’s stock.

Wall Street Analyst Weigh In

SO has been the subject of a number of research reports. UBS Group cut shares of Southern from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and cut their price objective for the company from $78.00 to $76.00 in a research note on Thursday, April 4th. Mizuho raised their price objective on Southern from $73.00 to $76.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 2nd. Barclays boosted their target price on Southern from $65.00 to $66.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Monday, April 15th. Royal Bank of Canada restated an “outperform” rating and set a $80.00 price target on shares of Southern in a research report on Wednesday, February 21st. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company boosted their price objective on Southern from $72.00 to $77.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Friday, May 3rd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, seven have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, Southern currently has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and a consensus target price of $76.36.

Check Out Our Latest Research Report on Southern

About Southern

(Free Report)

The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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