Viking Fund Management LLC reduced its stake in Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 22.6% during the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the SEC. The fund owned 30,800 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 9,000 shares during the quarter. Viking Fund Management LLC’s holdings in Southern were worth $1,353,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the company. Vigilant Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Southern during the 4th quarter worth approximately $30,000. IMS Capital Management acquired a new stake in Southern during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $37,000. Lavaca Capital LLC acquired a new stake in Southern during the 4th quarter worth approximately $48,000. Quadrant Capital Group LLC lifted its holdings in Southern by 23.2% during the 4th quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 1,899 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $73,000 after buying an additional 357 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Arlington Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Southern during the 4th quarter worth approximately $88,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 56.46% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities research analysts have commented on the stock. Bank of America raised shares of Southern from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $46.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, October 10th. SunTrust Banks reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $48.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research report on Thursday, November 8th. Mizuho reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $46.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research report on Tuesday, December 11th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $53.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, December 4th. Finally, Barclays increased their price objective on shares of Southern from $48.00 to $49.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, November 19th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. Southern currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $46.29.

Shares of NYSE SO traded up $0.51 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $47.58. The company had a trading volume of 4,447,831 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,881,469. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.48, a current ratio of 0.72 and a quick ratio of 0.58. The company has a market capitalization of $48.58 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.75, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.48 and a beta of 0.07. Southern Co has a 52-week low of $42.38 and a 52-week high of $49.43.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, November 7th. The utilities provider reported $1.14 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.07. The firm 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%. The company’s revenue was up 8.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.12 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Southern Co will post 3.04 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 6th. Investors of record on Tuesday, February 19th will be given a $0.60 dividend. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.04%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, February 15th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 79.47%.

In related news, CEO Kimberly S. Greene sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, December 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.03, for a total transaction of $705,450.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 9,380 shares in the company, valued at approximately $441,141.40. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Mark Lantrip sold 9,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.58, for a total transaction of $428,220.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.73% of the company’s stock.

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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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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