Bedel Financial Consulting Inc. Boosts Stock Position in Southern Co (NYSE:SO)

Bedel Financial Consulting Inc. grew its stake in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 11.7% during the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 5,053 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after acquiring an additional 530 shares during the period. Bedel Financial Consulting Inc.’s holdings in Southern were worth $274,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of the business. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in shares of Southern in the fourth quarter worth $494,229,000. State Street Corp raised its position in shares of Southern by 5.4% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 57,215,014 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,644,596,000 after buying an additional 2,944,110 shares in the last quarter. Prudential PLC raised its position in shares of Southern by 4,124.1% in the first quarter. Prudential PLC now owns 1,269,779 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $68,746,000 after buying an additional 1,239,719 shares in the last quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. raised its position in shares of Southern by 21.8% in the fourth quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 5,370,807 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $342,120,000 after buying an additional 961,748 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Swiss National Bank raised its position in shares of Southern by 20.8% in the first quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 5,484,919 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $296,954,000 after buying an additional 943,400 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 58.84% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NYSE:SO traded up $0.39 on Friday, reaching $54.22. 175,794 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 5,333,108. The business’s 50-day simple moving average is $55.58 and its 200 day simple moving average is $61.21. Southern Co has a 52 week low of $41.96 and a 52 week high of $71.10. The stock has a market capitalization of $56.92 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.03, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.34 and a beta of 0.44. The company has a current ratio of 0.99, a quick ratio of 0.78 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.44.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 30th. The utilities provider reported $0.78 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.07. Southern had a return on equity of 10.57% and a net margin of 16.83%. The firm had revenue of $5.02 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.45 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.70 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 7.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts expect that Southern Co will post 3.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 8th. Investors of record on Monday, May 18th will be paid a $0.64 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 15th. This is a boost from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.62. This represents a $2.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.72%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 82.32%.

A number of equities research analysts recently issued reports on the company. Argus upgraded Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $66.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, April 13th. Seaport Global Securities started coverage on Southern in a research report on Wednesday. They issued a “buy” rating and a $60.00 price objective on the stock. UBS Group cut Southern from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and increased their target price for the company from $54.00 to $63.00 in a research note on Thursday. Cfra increased their target price on Southern from $62.00 to $66.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 20th. Finally, Wolfe Research raised Southern from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 12th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. Southern has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $61.90.

In other Southern news, Director Ernest J. Moniz bought 3,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 4th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $54.72 per share, with a total value of $191,520.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 3,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $191,520. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 9,843 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.99, for a total value of $669,225.57. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 18,146 shares in the company, valued at $1,233,746.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 13,843 shares of company stock worth $881,346 over the last three months. 0.39% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Southern Company Profile

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.

Further Reading: S&P 500 Index

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding SO? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Southern Co (NYSE:SO).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

Receive News & Ratings for Southern Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Southern and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.