Southern Co (NYSE:SO) Expected to Post Earnings of $1.30 Per Share

Brokerages expect that Southern Co (NYSE:SO) will report earnings of $1.30 per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Two analysts have made estimates for Southern’s earnings, with the highest EPS estimate coming in at $1.40 and the lowest estimate coming in at $1.22. Southern posted earnings per share of $1.34 in the same quarter last year, which suggests a negative year-over-year growth rate of 3%. The company is scheduled to report its next earnings results on Wednesday, November 4th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Southern will report full year earnings of $3.15 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.12 to $3.18. For the next year, analysts expect that the firm will report earnings of $3.31 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.27 to $3.34. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS calculations are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that that provide coverage for Southern.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 30th. The utilities provider reported $0.78 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.11. Southern had a return on equity of 10.47% and a net margin of 15.83%. The business had revenue of $4.62 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.93 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.80 EPS. Southern’s revenue for the quarter was down 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year.

SO has been the topic of several recent research reports. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “buy” rating and set a $67.00 price target on shares of Southern in a research report on Thursday, April 30th. KeyCorp reduced their price target on Southern from $71.00 to $65.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, July 21st. UBS Group lowered Southern from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $54.00 to $63.00 in a research report on Thursday, May 21st. Mizuho dropped their price objective on Southern from $55.00 to $53.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, July 22nd. Finally, Seaport Global Securities initiated coverage on Southern in a report on Wednesday, May 20th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $60.00 price objective for the company. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $62.16.

SO traded down $1.45 on Monday, hitting $53.56. 3,121,237 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 5,383,834. The firm has a fifty day simple moving average of $53.66 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $57.73. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.46, a quick ratio of 0.75 and a current ratio of 0.97. Southern has a 12 month low of $41.96 and a 12 month high of $71.10. The stock has a market capitalization of $56.57 billion, a PE ratio of 17.39, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.34 and a beta of 0.42.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 17th will be paid a $0.64 dividend. This represents a $2.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.78%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, August 14th. Southern’s payout ratio is presently 82.32%.

In other news, EVP James Y. Kerr II sold 50,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.41, for a total value of $2,970,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 117,206 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,963,208.46. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,500 shares of Southern stock in a transaction on Monday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.00, for a total value of $137,500.00. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 57,500 shares of company stock valued at $3,393,650. 0.39% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in SO. Nordea Investment Management AB raised its stake in Southern by 1,658.7% during the second quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 2,964,098 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $152,652,000 after buying an additional 2,795,556 shares during the last quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. increased its holdings in shares of Southern by 29.0% in the 1st quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 6,930,066 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $375,194,000 after purchasing an additional 1,559,259 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its holdings in shares of Southern by 11.0% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 14,378,464 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $745,524,000 after purchasing an additional 1,420,920 shares in the last quarter. Federated Hermes Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Southern by 24.1% in the 2nd quarter. Federated Hermes Inc. now owns 6,561,931 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $340,236,000 after purchasing an additional 1,274,233 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Prudential PLC increased its holdings in shares of Southern by 4,124.1% in the 1st quarter. Prudential PLC now owns 1,269,779 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $68,746,000 after purchasing an additional 1,239,719 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 58.82% of the company’s stock.

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.

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