New York State Common Retirement Fund Buys 43,000 Shares of Southern Co (SO)

New York State Common Retirement Fund lifted its stake in Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 2.0% in the first quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 2,171,900 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after acquiring an additional 43,000 shares during the quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund’s holdings in Southern were worth $112,244,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in SO. Neuberger Berman Group LLC lifted its stake in shares of Southern by 233.3% during the 3rd quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 202,442 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $8,826,000 after purchasing an additional 141,696 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley lifted its stake in shares of Southern by 17.3% during the 3rd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 5,781,699 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $252,083,000 after purchasing an additional 852,234 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its stake in shares of Southern by 1.7% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 77,467,557 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,377,586,000 after purchasing an additional 1,324,658 shares during the last quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC lifted its stake in shares of Southern by 23.2% during the 4th quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 1,899 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $73,000 after purchasing an additional 357 shares during the last quarter. Finally, GW Henssler & Associates Ltd. lifted its stake in shares of Southern by 1.2% during the 4th quarter. GW Henssler & Associates Ltd. now owns 252,878 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $11,106,000 after purchasing an additional 3,032 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 56.59% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NYSE:SO opened at $54.08 on Tuesday. Southern Co has a 1 year low of $42.50 and a 1 year high of $54.28. The stock has a market cap of $56.26 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.62, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.95 and a beta of 0.21. The company has a current ratio of 0.88, a quick ratio of 0.69 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37.

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

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th will be issued 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 4.59%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is currently 78.18%.

SO has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $61.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday. ValuEngine raised Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, May 10th. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $52.00 target price on shares of Southern in a research report on Monday, February 25th. Citigroup raised Southern from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and upped their target price for the company from $45.00 to $50.00 in a research report on Thursday, January 24th. Finally, Evercore ISI raised Southern from an “in-line” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, May 3rd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. Southern presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $48.23.

In other news, CEO William P. Bowers sold 233,477 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, April 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.29, for a total value of $11,975,035.33. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 354,212 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $18,167,533.48. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 18,922 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 7th. The shares were 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 directly owns 10,165 shares in the company, valued at $511,909.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 267,249 shares of company stock worth $13,714,078 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 0.73% of the company’s stock.

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Southern 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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