Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) saw a significant increase in short interest during the month of September. As of September 30th, there was short interest totalling 19,557,221 shares, an increase of 28.9% from the September 15th total of 15,177,071 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 6,123,648 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 3.2 days. Approximately 2.0% of the company’s shares are short sold.

A number of research firms recently commented on SO. Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Thursday, August 4th. SunTrust Banks Inc. decreased their target price on Southern from $52.00 to $51.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Monday, September 12th. Zacks Investment Research raised Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $60.00 target price for the company in a research note on Tuesday, September 27th. Mizuho boosted their target price on Southern from $50.00 to $52.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 12th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $54.00 target price on shares of Southern in a research note on Thursday, July 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $53.50.

Southern (NYSE:SO) opened at 50.56 on Monday. Southern has a 12 month low of $43.38 and a 12 month high of $54.64. The firm has a market capitalization of $47.61 billion, a PE ratio of 20.07 and a beta of 0.08. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $51.41 and its 200 day moving average price is $51.36.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.74 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.04. The business earned $4.45 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.54 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 12.50% and a net margin of 13.77%. Southern’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.71 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Southern will post $2.86 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, CEO Mark A. Crosswhite sold 167,273 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.30, for a total value of $8,915,650.90. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 171,983 shares in the company, valued at $9,166,693.90. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 46,008 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.40, for a total value of $2,456,827.20. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 56,149 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,998,356.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SO. State Street Corp raised its position in Southern by 7.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 45,685,547 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,363,311,000 after buying an additional 3,331,298 shares during the period. Hanlon Investment Management Inc. raised its position in Southern by 12.3% in the first quarter. Hanlon Investment Management Inc. now owns 92,373 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,778,000 after buying an additional 10,130 shares during the period. Mirae Asset Global Investments Co. Ltd. raised its position in Southern by 322.4% in the first quarter. Mirae Asset Global Investments Co. Ltd. now owns 22,646 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,171,000 after buying an additional 17,285 shares during the period. BB&T Securities LLC raised its position in Southern by 20.8% in the first quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 325,616 shares of the company’s stock valued at $16,843,000 after buying an additional 56,147 shares during the period. Finally, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board raised its position in Southern by 31.1% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 258,633 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,379,000 after buying an additional 61,300 shares during the period. 48.64% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Southern

The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional operating companies and Southern Power Company (Southern Power), and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. Southern Company’s segments include the sale of electricity by four traditional operating companies, Southern Power and All Other.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:SO

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