Insider Selling: Southern Co (SO) CEO Sells 7,000 Shares of Stock

Southern Co (NYSE:SO) CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 7,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, April 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.68, for a total transaction of $361,760.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 77,772 shares in the company, valued at $4,019,256.96. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink.

Shares of SO stock traded up $0.22 on Monday, hitting $52.72. 4,864,590 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 4,991,989. The company has a current ratio of 0.67, a quick ratio of 0.54 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.40. The firm has a market cap of $54.64 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.17, a P/E/G ratio of 3.82 and a beta of 0.20. Southern Co has a 1-year low of $42.42 and a 1-year high of $52.81.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 20th. The utilities provider reported $0.25 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.23 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $5.34 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.88 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 11.39% and a net margin of 9.54%. The business’s revenue was down 5.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.51 EPS. On average, research analysts forecast that Southern Co will post 3.03 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 6th. Investors of record on Monday, May 20th will be given a dividend of $0.62 per share. This is a positive change from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.70%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is currently 78.18%.

A number of research firms recently weighed in on SO. SunTrust Banks reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $52.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research report on Monday, February 25th. Citigroup raised Southern from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $45.00 to $50.00 in a research note on Thursday, January 24th. reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, February 13th. ValuEngine downgraded Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, April 1st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 price target for the company in a research note on Tuesday, January 15th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $47.15.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Old Port Advisors purchased a new stake in shares of Southern during the first quarter valued at $205,000. Financial Architects Inc grew its holdings in Southern by 11.7% in the 4th quarter. Financial Architects Inc now owns 17,924 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $787,000 after buying an additional 1,877 shares during the last quarter. American Asset Management Inc. grew its holdings in Southern by 13.4% in the 4th quarter. American Asset Management Inc. now owns 13,520 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $594,000 after buying an additional 1,595 shares during the last quarter. Rampart Investment Management Company LLC grew its holdings in Southern by 168.3% in the 4th quarter. Rampart Investment Management Company LLC now owns 77,416 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,400,000 after buying an additional 48,561 shares during the last quarter. Finally, LPL Financial LLC grew its holdings in Southern by 1.2% in the 4th quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 795,878 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $34,955,000 after buying an additional 9,686 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 56.84% of the company’s stock.

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About Southern

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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