BidaskClub upgraded shares of Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning.

A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on SO. Zacks Investment Research lowered Southern Company (The) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 25th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a buy rating and issued a $55.00 target price (down previously from $56.00) on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Thursday, May 4th. Barclays PLC reissued a buy rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research note on Friday, May 5th. Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on Southern Company (The) from $50.00 to $51.00 and gave the company an underweight rating in a research note on Monday, May 8th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada lowered their target price on Southern Company (The) from $54.00 to $53.00 and set a sector perform rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $48.79.

Southern Company (NYSE:SO) opened at 48.31 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $48.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 79.46 and a beta of 0.12. Southern Company has a 52-week low of $46.20 and a 52-week high of $53.73. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $48.03 and its 200 day moving average price is $49.44.

Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.73 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates 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 quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.74 EPS. Southern Company (The)’s revenue for the quarter was up 21.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Southern Company will post $2.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, September 6th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 21st will be given a dividend of $0.58 per share. This represents a $2.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.80%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 17th. Southern Company (The)’s payout ratio is 346.27%.

In other Southern Company (The) news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 75,144 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.29, for a total transaction of $3,703,847.76. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 85,298 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,204,338.42. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Mark Lantrip sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 14th. The shares were 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 of the company’s stock, 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 valued at $7,665,158 in the last ninety days. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SO. First National Bank of Omaha raised its position in shares of Southern Company (The) by 0.5% in the second quarter. First National Bank of Omaha now owns 15,070 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $721,000 after buying an additional 70 shares in the last quarter. AlphaMark Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Southern Company (The) by 115.7% in the first quarter. AlphaMark Advisors LLC now owns 2,349 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $117,000 after buying an additional 1,260 shares in the last quarter. Stifel Financial Corp raised its position in shares of Southern Company (The) by 5.2% in the first quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 1,640,131 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $81,543,000 after buying an additional 81,148 shares in the last quarter. Vicus Capital raised its position in shares of Southern Company (The) by 11.9% in the first quarter. Vicus Capital now owns 16,423 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $818,000 after buying an additional 1,745 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Elkfork Partners LLC raised its position in shares of Southern Company (The) by 23.9% in the first quarter. Elkfork Partners LLC now owns 695,470 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $34,620,000 after buying an additional 134,062 shares in the last quarter. 52.83% of the stock is 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.

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

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