Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new stake in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) in the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm bought 48,696 shares of the utilities provider’s stock, valued at approximately $2,517,000.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the business. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in shares of Southern by 1.9% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 10,620,343 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $463,048,000 after purchasing an additional 193,771 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in Southern by 2.1% during the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,817,412 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $79,230,000 after acquiring an additional 36,654 shares in the last quarter. Paloma Partners Management Co acquired a new position in Southern during the third quarter worth $871,000. Pacer Advisors Inc. raised its stake in Southern by 12.1% during the third quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 55,037 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,400,000 after acquiring an additional 5,937 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Caxton Associates LP acquired a new position in Southern during the third quarter worth $380,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 56.84% of the company’s stock.

Several research analysts have issued reports on SO shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Saturday, January 5th. Guggenheim reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $44.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research note on Monday, January 7th. SunTrust Banks reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $47.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research note on Monday, January 7th. Citigroup upgraded Southern from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their price objective for the stock from $45.00 to $50.00 in a research note on Thursday, January 24th. Finally, reiterated a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, February 13th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $47.15.

In related news, insider Mark Lantrip sold 33,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.50, for a total value of $1,633,500.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 56,157 shares in the company, valued at $2,779,771.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CEO William P. Bowers sold 90,942 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.60, for a total value of $4,419,781.20. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 177,043 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,604,289.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 383,341 shares of company stock worth $19,342,988 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.73% of the company’s stock.

Shares of SO stock traded up $0.22 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $52.72. 4,598,713 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 4,992,238. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.40, a quick ratio of 0.54 and a current ratio of 0.67. The stock has a market capitalization of $54.64 billion, a PE ratio of 17.17, a PEG ratio of 3.82 and a beta of 0.20. Southern Co has a 52 week low of $42.42 and a 52 week high of $52.81.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 20th. The utilities provider reported $0.25 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.23 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $5.34 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.88 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 11.39% and a net margin of 9.54%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.51 earnings per share. As a group, analysts forecast that Southern Co will post 3.03 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th will be issued a dividend of $0.62 per share. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.70%. This is a boost from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is presently 78.18%.

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About Southern

The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It operates in four segments: Gas Distribution Operations, Gas Pipeline Investments, Wholesale Gas Services, and Gas Marketing Services. 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, and Tennessee, as well as provides gas marketing services, wholesale gas services, and gas pipeline investments operations.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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