Southern Co (SO) Holdings Cut by Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund

Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lowered its stake in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 4.6% in the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 104,513 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 5,062 shares during the quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund’s holdings in Southern were worth $5,401,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in SO. Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of Southern in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $317,444,000. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of Southern by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 67,971,011 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,985,286,000 after acquiring an additional 2,593,928 shares during the period. FMR LLC boosted its position in shares of Southern by 20.7% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 10,403,435 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $456,919,000 after acquiring an additional 1,785,854 shares during the period. California Public Employees Retirement System boosted its position in shares of Southern by 45.0% in the fourth quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 5,303,634 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $232,936,000 after acquiring an additional 1,645,805 shares during the period. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc boosted its position in shares of Southern by 1.7% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 77,467,557 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,377,586,000 after acquiring an additional 1,324,658 shares during the period. 56.59% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

SO has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 14th. ValuEngine upgraded Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, May 10th. Credit Suisse Group set a $51.00 target price on Southern and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, April 22nd. restated a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Wednesday, February 13th. Finally, SunTrust Banks restated a “hold” rating and issued a $52.00 target price on shares of Southern in a research note on Monday, February 25th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $48.15.

In other Southern news, Director Henry A. Clark III bought 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 5th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $50.19 per share, for a total transaction of $100,380.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 2,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $100,380. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO William P. Bowers sold 233,477 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, April 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.29, for a total value of $11,975,035.33. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 354,212 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $18,167,533.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 267,249 shares of company stock valued at $13,714,078. 0.73% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Southern stock opened at $53.82 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37, a current ratio of 0.88 and a quick ratio of 0.69. Southern Co has a 52-week low of $42.42 and a 52-week high of $54.28. The firm has a market cap of $55.99 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.53, a P/E/G ratio of 3.95 and a beta of 0.21.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.70 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.70. Southern had a return on equity of 10.37% and a net margin of 15.03%. The firm had revenue of $5.41 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.66 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.88 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 15.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts anticipate that Southern Co will post 3.03 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th will be paid a $0.62 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 17th. This is a positive change from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.61%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 78.18%.

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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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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