Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “SO is one of the largest and best-managed electric utility holding companies in the U.S., dominating the power business across the southeastern region. With good rate base growth and constructive regulation, we expect it to generate steady earnings and dividend growth in the coming years through its long-term power contracts. Additionally, the utility's $12 billion AGL Resources has significantly increased its customer base and diversified its offerings. However, continued timing and cost overrun issues over two large construction projects – Vogtle and Kemper – are major overhangs. While the $20 billion Vogtle nuclear plant has gone well over budget and is years behind schedule, Southern's Kemper project suffered yet another setback with the suspension of all coal gasification operations amid additional cost burden. The interplay of these factors account for our conservative investment thesis.”

A number of other brokerages have also weighed in on SO. Morgan Stanley lowered their target price on Southern Company (The) from $53.00 to $51.00 and set an underweight rating for the company in a research note on Friday, June 23rd. Jefferies Group LLC restated a buy rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Monday, May 15th. Barclays PLC restated a buy rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Monday, May 15th. BidaskClub lowered Southern Company (The) from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research report on Saturday, June 24th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group upgraded Southern Company (The) from an underperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $48.79.

Southern Company (SO) traded up 0.19% on Tuesday, hitting $48.11. 599,275 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a market cap of $48.08 billion, a PE ratio of 79.13 and a beta of 0.12. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $48.01 and a 200-day moving average of $49.44. Southern Company has a 52-week low of $46.20 and a 52-week high of $53.73.

Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.73 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.02. Southern Company (The) had a return on equity of 11.30% and a net margin of 2.93%. The company had revenue of $5.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.23 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.74 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 21.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts expect that Southern Company will post $2.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY NOTICE: “Southern Company (The) (SO) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research” was first reported by The Cerbat Gem and is owned by of The Cerbat Gem. If you are accessing this piece of content on another publication, it was illegally copied and reposted in violation of US & international copyright and trademark laws. The legal version of this piece of content can be viewed at https://www.thecerbatgem.com/2017/08/25/southern-company-the-so-upgraded-at-zacks-investment-research.html.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, September 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 21st will be issued a dividend of $0.58 per share. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.83%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 17th. Southern Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 346.27%.

In other Southern Company (The) news, insider Ann P. Daiss sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.28, for a total transaction of $256,400.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 7,394 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $379,164.32. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Mark Lantrip sold 25,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.50, for a total value of $1,287,500.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 31,080 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,600,620. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 152,084 shares of company stock worth $7,665,158 in the last quarter. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC acquired a new position in Southern Company (The) during the second quarter worth $100,000. Symmetry Partners LLC acquired a new position in Southern Company (The) during the first quarter worth $103,000. Feltz Wealth PLAN Inc. acquired a new position in Southern Company (The) during the first quarter worth $108,000. Monroe Bank & Trust MI raised its position in Southern Company (The) by 17.9% in the second quarter. Monroe Bank & Trust MI now owns 2,300 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $110,000 after buying an additional 350 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Stuart Chaussee & Associates Inc. raised its position in Southern Company (The) by 358.8% in the first quarter. Stuart Chaussee & Associates Inc. now owns 2,225 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 1,740 shares during the last quarter. 52.83% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Southern Company (The)

The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional electric operating companies and the parent entities of Southern Power Company (Southern Power) and Southern Company Gas, and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Company’s segments include Gas distribution operations, Gas marketing services, Wholesale gas services, Gas midstream operations and All other.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Southern Company (The) (SO)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO)

Receive News & Stock Ratings for Southern Company (The) Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Southern Company (The) and related stocks with our FREE daily email newsletter.