Seaport Global Securities began coverage on shares of Southern (NYSE:SO) in a research note released on Wednesday morning, Benzinga reports. The firm issued a buy rating and a $60.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.
A number of other analysts have also recently issued reports on SO. Zacks Investment Research cut Southern from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $59.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Tuesday, May 5th. Cfra raised their price objective on Southern from $62.00 to $66.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, February 20th. Citigroup lifted their price target on Southern from $61.00 to $73.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Monday, January 27th. Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on Southern from $57.00 to $52.00 and set an underweight rating for the company in a report on Friday, May 15th. Finally, ValuEngine cut Southern from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, February 28th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Southern currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $61.90.
Shares of SO traded up $0.75 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $54.58. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 4,407,150 shares, compared to its average volume of 5,260,371. Southern has a 1-year low of $41.96 and a 1-year high of $71.10. The stock has a market cap of $56.90 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.24, a PEG ratio of 4.26 and a beta of 0.44. The business has a 50-day simple moving average of $55.58 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $61.17. 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 also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 18th will be paid a $0.64 dividend. This is a positive change from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.62. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 15th. This represents a $2.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.69%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 82.32%.
In other Southern news, Director Ernest J. Moniz purchased 3,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 4th. The shares were bought at an average price of $54.72 per share, for a total transaction of $191,520.00. Following the purchase, the director now owns 3,500 shares in the company, valued at approximately $191,520. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 9,843 shares of Southern stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.99, for a total value of $669,225.57. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 18,146 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,233,746.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 13,843 shares of company stock worth $881,346. Corporate insiders own 0.39% of the company’s stock.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company boosted its holdings in shares of Southern by 9.4% during the 1st quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 1,561,553 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $84,543,000 after acquiring an additional 133,859 shares in the last quarter. Cim Investment Mangement Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Southern by 3.7% during the 1st quarter. Cim Investment Mangement Inc. now owns 9,203 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $498,000 after acquiring an additional 332 shares in the last quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Southern by 10.5% during the 1st quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 599,458 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $32,445,000 after acquiring an additional 56,838 shares in the last quarter. Capital Advisors Inc. OK boosted its holdings in shares of Southern by 13.6% during the 1st quarter. Capital Advisors Inc. OK now owns 349,875 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $18,942,000 after acquiring an additional 41,761 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Peninsula Asset Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Southern by 20.2% during the 1st quarter. Peninsula Asset Management Inc. now owns 9,727 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $527,000 after acquiring an additional 1,637 shares in the last quarter. 58.84% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
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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