BLB&B Advisors LLC cut its holdings in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 7.9% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 12,778 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 1,100 shares during the quarter. BLB&B Advisors LLC’s holdings in Southern were worth $660,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Several other hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the business. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in shares of Southern by 1.9% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 10,620,343 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $463,048,000 after buying an additional 193,771 shares during the period. Putnam Investments LLC increased its stake in shares of Southern by 67.3% in the third quarter. Putnam Investments LLC now owns 120,863 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $5,270,000 after buying an additional 48,617 shares during the period. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans increased its stake in shares of Southern by 136.5% in the third quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 148,966 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $6,495,000 after buying an additional 85,986 shares during the period. Mackenzie Financial Corp increased its stake in shares of Southern by 139.7% in the third quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp now owns 51,058 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,226,000 after buying an additional 29,759 shares during the period. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Southern by 9.4% in the third quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 342,167 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $14,919,000 after buying an additional 29,500 shares during the period. 56.89% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
In other Southern news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 18,922 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.36, for a total value of $952,911.92. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 10,165 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $511,909.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 7,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.68, for a total value of $361,760.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 77,772 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,019,256.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 383,341 shares of company stock valued at $19,342,988. 0.73% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 20th. The utilities provider reported $0.25 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.23 by $0.02. Southern had a net margin of 9.54% and a return on equity of 11.39%. The firm had revenue of $5.34 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.88 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.51 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts expect that Southern Co will post 3.03 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th will be given a $0.62 dividend. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.77%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 17th. This is a positive change from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. Southern’s payout ratio is currently 78.18%.
Several brokerages recently commented on SO. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, April 1st. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $52.00 target price on shares of Southern in a research note on Monday, February 25th. reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, February 13th. reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, February 13th. Finally, Citigroup upgraded shares of Southern from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and lifted their price target for the company from $45.00 to $50.00 in a report on Thursday, January 24th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $47.15.
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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