Southern (SO) Upgraded at Bank of America

Bank of America upgraded shares of Southern (NYSE:SO) from an underperform rating to a neutral rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday, Marketbeat Ratings reports. They currently have $46.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

SO has been the topic of several other research reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Southern from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $49.00 price target on the stock in a report on Tuesday. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on Southern from $42.00 to $45.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a report on Monday, July 16th. Citigroup lowered Southern from a neutral rating to a sell rating and set a $45.00 price target on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, August 8th. Howard Weil initiated coverage on Southern in a report on Tuesday, July 24th. They set a sector perform rating and a $45.00 price target on the stock. Finally, SunTrust Banks reiterated a hold rating and set a $50.00 price target on shares of Southern in a report on Monday, August 6th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $46.04.

Shares of SO opened at $43.58 on Wednesday. Southern has a 52-week low of $42.38 and a 52-week high of $53.51. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.59, a quick ratio of 0.68 and a current ratio of 0.81. The firm has a market cap of $44.22 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.43, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.26 and a beta of -0.05.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.80 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.11. Southern had a net margin of 9.96% and a return on equity of 13.06%. The company had revenue of $5.63 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.28 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.73 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts forecast that Southern will post 2.97 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 16,371 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.40, for a total value of $775,985.40. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 10,165 shares in the company, valued at approximately $481,821. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.73% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Ipswich Investment Management Co. Inc. grew its position in Southern by 5.4% in the 2nd quarter. Ipswich Investment Management Co. Inc. now owns 21,309 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $987,000 after acquiring an additional 1,090 shares in the last quarter. Moloney Securities Asset Management LLC grew its position in Southern by 17.1% in the 2nd quarter. Moloney Securities Asset Management LLC now owns 7,474 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $346,000 after acquiring an additional 1,093 shares in the last quarter. Andra AP fonden grew its position in Southern by 2.1% in the 2nd quarter. Andra AP fonden now owns 52,500 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,431,000 after acquiring an additional 1,100 shares in the last quarter. BB&T Corp grew its position in Southern by 0.7% in the 2nd quarter. BB&T Corp now owns 157,644 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $7,301,000 after acquiring an additional 1,138 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Quadrant Capital Group LLC grew its position in Southern by 22.6% in the 2nd quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 6,587 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $293,000 after acquiring an additional 1,214 shares in the last quarter. 57.35% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Southern

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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