Argent Trust Co cut its holdings in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 2.4% in the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 33,896 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 828 shares during the quarter. Argent Trust Co’s holdings in Southern were worth $1,836,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the company. Norges Bank purchased a new position in shares of Southern during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $494,229,000. State Street Corp increased its holdings in shares of Southern by 5.4% during the 4th quarter. State Street Corp now owns 57,215,014 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,644,596,000 after purchasing an additional 2,944,110 shares in the last quarter. Prudential PLC increased its holdings in shares of Southern by 4,124.1% during the 1st quarter. Prudential PLC now owns 1,269,779 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $68,746,000 after purchasing an additional 1,239,719 shares in the last quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. increased its holdings in shares of Southern by 21.8% during the 4th quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 5,370,807 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $342,120,000 after purchasing an additional 961,748 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Swiss National Bank increased its holdings in shares of Southern by 20.8% during the 1st quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 5,484,919 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $296,954,000 after purchasing an additional 943,400 shares in the last quarter. 58.84% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
SO traded up $0.75 on Friday, hitting $54.58. 4,407,150 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 5,260,371. Southern Co has a fifty-two week low of $41.96 and a fifty-two week high of $71.10. The company has a current ratio of 0.99, a quick ratio of 0.78 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.44. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $55.58 and a 200-day moving average price of $61.17. The stock has a market cap of $56.90 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.24, a P/E/G ratio of 4.26 and a beta of 0.44.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, April 30th. The utilities provider reported $0.78 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.07. Southern had a net margin of 16.83% and a return on equity of 10.57%. The company had revenue of $5.02 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.45 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.70 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 7.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that Southern Co will post 3.16 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 18th will be given a dividend of $0.64 per share. This is a boost from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.62. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 15th. This represents a $2.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.69%. Southern’s payout ratio is presently 82.32%.
Several equities research analysts recently commented on the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, February 28th. Wolfe Research raised shares of Southern from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, March 12th. UBS Group lowered shares of Southern from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $54.00 to $63.00 in a report on Thursday. Citigroup boosted their price target on shares of Southern from $61.00 to $73.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, January 27th. Finally, Barclays cut their price target on shares of Southern from $68.00 to $52.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, March 26th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $61.90.
In other news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 9,843 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.99, for a total transaction of $669,225.57. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 18,146 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,233,746.54. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.59, for a total transaction of $103,180.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 84,396 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,353,989.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 13,843 shares of company stock worth $881,346. Corporate insiders own 0.39% of the company’s stock.
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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