Burney Co. lessened its stake in shares of Southern (NYSE:SO) by 22.3% in the first quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The firm owned 14,179 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 4,061 shares during the quarter. Burney Co.’s holdings in Southern were worth $633,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of SO. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA increased its position in Southern by 55.4% during the 1st quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 14,790,707 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $660,554,000 after purchasing an additional 5,270,905 shares in the last quarter. Luminus Management LLC purchased a new stake in Southern during the 4th quarter worth about $70,674,000. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Southern during the 4th quarter worth about $45,617,000. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Southern by 1.3% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 62,955,468 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,027,527,000 after purchasing an additional 821,503 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Quantitative Investment Management LLC purchased a new stake in Southern during the 4th quarter worth about $26,079,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 56.04% of the company’s stock.
Several research firms have commented on SO. Morgan Stanley lowered their price target on Southern from $48.00 to $44.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, February 13th. UBS began coverage on Southern in a report on Friday, February 2nd. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $46.00 price target for the company. ValuEngine cut Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. SunTrust Banks set a $47.00 price target on Southern and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, February 5th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group restated an “underperform” rating and issued a $45.00 price target (down previously from $46.00) on shares of Southern in a report on Tuesday, February 27th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $49.17.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.88 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.84 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $6.37 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.98 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 12.97% and a net margin of 4.88%. The company’s revenue was up 10.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.66 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Southern will post 2.89 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 21st will be paid a $0.60 dividend. This is a positive change from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.58. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.50%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 18th. Southern’s payout ratio is currently 76.82%.
Southern Company Profile
The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. The company also constructs, acquires, owns, and manages power generation assets, including renewable energy facilities and sells electricity in the wholesale market; and distributes natural gas in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, and Maryland, as well as provides gas marketing services, wholesale gas services, and gas midstream operations.
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