Macquarie Group Ltd. Grows Holdings in Southern (SO)

Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its stake in Southern (NYSE:SO) by 18.2% during the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 366,026 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after purchasing an additional 56,426 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd.’s holdings in Southern were worth $4,097,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in SO. Commonwealth Bank of Australia boosted its position in shares of Southern by 1,565.3% in the third quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 1,738,380 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $59,048,000 after acquiring an additional 1,633,990 shares during the period. Luminus Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Southern in the fourth quarter valued at about $70,674,000. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Southern in the fourth quarter valued at about $45,617,000. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of Southern by 1.3% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 62,955,468 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,027,527,000 after acquiring an additional 821,503 shares during the period. Finally, Quantitative Investment Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Southern in the fourth quarter valued at about $26,079,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 56.40% of the company’s stock.

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NYSE:SO opened at $44.66 on Friday. Southern has a twelve month low of $42.38 and a twelve month high of $53.51. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.84, a current ratio of 0.74 and a quick ratio of 0.59. The stock has a market cap of $45,024.38, a P/E ratio of 14.79, a PEG ratio of 3.43 and a beta of 0.07.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 21st. The utilities provider reported $0.51 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $5.63 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.17 billion. Southern had a net margin of 3.82% and a return on equity of 11.96%. Southern’s revenue was up 8.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.24 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Southern will post 2.9 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, March 6th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, February 20th were paid a dividend of $0.58 per share. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 5.19%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, February 16th. Southern’s payout ratio is 76.82%.

A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on SO. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $57.00 target price for the company in a research report on Tuesday, December 12th. Mizuho reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Southern in a research report on Friday, December 8th. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Southern in a research report on Friday, December 22nd. SunTrust Banks reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $50.00 target price on shares of Southern in a research report on Tuesday, December 26th. Finally, Guggenheim reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Southern has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $49.17.

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Southern Profile

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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