Southern Co (NYSE:SO) – Research analysts at SunTrust Banks increased their FY2018 earnings per share estimates for shares of Southern in a report issued on Wednesday, November 7th. SunTrust Banks analyst A. Agha now forecasts that the utilities provider will earn $3.05 per share for the year, up from their prior forecast of $3.03. SunTrust Banks currently has a “Hold” rating and a $48.00 target price on the stock. SunTrust Banks also issued estimates for Southern’s Q4 2018 earnings at $0.23 EPS, Q2 2019 earnings at $0.78 EPS, Q3 2019 earnings at $1.13 EPS, Q4 2019 earnings at $0.23 EPS, FY2019 earnings at $3.01 EPS, Q1 2020 earnings at $0.90 EPS, Q2 2020 earnings at $0.82 EPS, Q3 2020 earnings at $1.17 EPS and FY2020 earnings at $3.13 EPS.

SO has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Bank of America raised shares of Southern from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $46.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 10th. Scotiabank reissued a “sector perform” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Tuesday, July 24th. Credit Suisse Group downgraded shares of Southern from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and cut their target price for the company from $46.00 to $43.00 in a research note on Thursday, August 9th. Evercore ISI downgraded shares of Southern from an “in-line” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 9th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 9th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. Southern presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $45.96.

Shares of SO stock opened at $47.27 on Monday. Southern has a 52 week low of $42.38 and a 52 week high of $52.65. The company has a current ratio of 0.72, a quick ratio of 0.58 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.48. The firm has a market capitalization of $48.16 billion, a PE ratio of 15.65, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.44 and a beta of -0.09.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 7th. The utilities provider reported $1.14 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.07. The company had revenue of $6.70 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.68 billion. Southern had a net margin of 10.35% and a return on equity of 12.88%. Southern’s revenue was up 8.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.12 earnings per share.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 6th. Investors of record on Monday, November 19th will be issued a dividend of $0.60 per share. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.08%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 16th. Southern’s payout ratio is 79.47%.

In related news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 16,371 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.40, for a total transaction of $775,985.40. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 10,165 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $481,821. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 0.73% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SO. Renaissance Technologies LLC grew its holdings in Southern by 264.9% during the 3rd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 4,812,401 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $209,821,000 after acquiring an additional 3,493,601 shares in the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA grew its holdings in Southern by 17.3% during the 2nd quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 17,342,735 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $803,142,000 after acquiring an additional 2,552,028 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC grew its holdings in Southern by 28.2% during the 3rd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 8,617,581 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $375,726,000 after acquiring an additional 1,896,970 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley grew its holdings in Southern by 35.0% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 4,929,465 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $228,284,000 after acquiring an additional 1,278,656 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in Southern by 1.8% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 64,498,296 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,986,915,000 after acquiring an additional 1,168,307 shares in the last quarter. 57.31% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Southern

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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Earnings History and Estimates for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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