Southern (SO) Reaches New 1-Year High at $49.62

Shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Tuesday . The company traded as high as $49.62 and last traded at $49.54, with a volume of 192130 shares. The stock had previously closed at $49.24.

SO has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Mizuho reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $46.00 target price on shares of Southern in a research report on Tuesday, December 11th. Barclays boosted their price objective on shares of Southern from $48.00 to $49.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, November 19th. UBS Group boosted their price objective on shares of Southern from $46.00 to $47.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, October 29th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $53.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, December 4th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Southern from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, October 19th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $46.64.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.48, a quick ratio of 0.58 and a current ratio of 0.72. The company has a market cap of $50.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.37, a P/E/G ratio of 3.63 and a beta of 0.19.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 6th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, February 19th will be paid a $0.60 dividend. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.85%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, February 15th. Southern’s payout ratio is 79.47%.

In other news, CEO Kimberly S. Greene sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.03, for a total value of $705,450.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 9,380 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $441,141.40. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Mark Lantrip sold 9,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.58, for a total transaction of $428,220.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 114,942 shares of company stock valued at $5,553,451. Insiders own 0.73% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. raised its position in shares of Southern by 9.5% in the 3rd quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 876,977 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $38,233,000 after acquiring an additional 75,812 shares in the last quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan raised its stake in Southern by 0.9% in the third quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan now owns 302,230 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $13,177,000 after buying an additional 2,700 shares in the last quarter. Financial Architects Inc raised its stake in Southern by 11.7% in the fourth quarter. Financial Architects Inc now owns 17,924 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $787,000 after buying an additional 1,877 shares in the last quarter. UMB Bank N A MO increased its stake in shares of Southern by 4.7% during the fourth quarter. UMB Bank N A MO now owns 76,791 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,373,000 after purchasing an additional 3,482 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bollard Group LLC increased its stake in shares of Southern by 3.2% during the third quarter. Bollard Group LLC now owns 208,887 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $9,107,000 after purchasing an additional 6,419 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 56.84% of the company’s stock.

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About Southern (NYSE:SO)

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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