Media stories about Southern (NYSE:SO) have been trending somewhat positive on Friday, according to Accern Sentiment Analysis. Accern identifies negative and positive press coverage by analyzing more than twenty million blog and news sources. Accern ranks coverage of companies on a scale of negative one to one, with scores closest to one being the most favorable. Southern earned a media sentiment score of 0.18 on Accern’s scale. Accern also assigned news stories about the utilities provider an impact score of 45.8703619737636 out of 100, meaning that recent press coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the stock’s share price in the next few days.

Here are some of the news stories that may have impacted Accern Sentiment’s rankings:

Several equities research analysts have issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $57.00 price target on the stock in a report on Tuesday. Mizuho reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of Southern in a report on Friday, December 8th. Royal Bank of Canada raised shares of Southern from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $53.00 price target on the stock in a report on Friday, September 29th. BidaskClub raised shares of Southern from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 22nd. Finally, Citigroup reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $44.00 price target (up previously from $43.00) on shares of Southern in a report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Southern has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $49.92.

Shares of Southern (SO) traded down $0.21 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $51.31. 9,391,272 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 4,704,607. Southern has a 52 week low of $46.71 and a 52 week high of $53.51. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.73, a current ratio of 0.73 and a quick ratio of 0.57. The firm has a market cap of $51,500.00, a P/E ratio of 18.79, a PEG ratio of 3.89 and a beta of 0.13.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $1.12 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.04. Southern had a net margin of 2.59% and a return on equity of 10.81%. The company had revenue of $6.20 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.16 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.27 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts predict that Southern will post 2.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, December 6th. Investors of record on Monday, November 20th were given a dividend of $0.58 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, November 17th. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.52%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 414.29%.

In related news, CEO William P. Bowers sold 85,151 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total transaction of $4,257,550.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP James Y. Kerr II sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.16, for a total transaction of $1,304,000.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 26,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,356,160. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 213,813 shares of company stock worth $11,029,988. 1.00% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

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About Southern

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.

Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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