Millennium Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Southern (NYSE:SO) during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm acquired 78,414 shares of the utilities provider’s stock, valued at approximately $3,771,000.
Several other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in shares of Southern by 1.3% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 62,955,468 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,027,527,000 after purchasing an additional 821,503 shares during the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its stake in shares of Southern by 3.5% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 10,933,765 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $525,805,000 after purchasing an additional 370,302 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Southern by 3.4% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 10,321,563 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $495,300,000 after purchasing an additional 342,203 shares during the last quarter. Swiss National Bank grew its stake in shares of Southern by 1.3% in the fourth quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 4,844,624 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $232,978,000 after purchasing an additional 64,200 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its stake in shares of Southern by 2.7% in the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 4,799,550 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $235,851,000 after purchasing an additional 126,052 shares during the last quarter. 56.39% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Several research firms have weighed in on SO. SunTrust Banks set a $45.00 price objective on Southern and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, February 23rd. JPMorgan Chase lifted their price objective on Southern from $43.00 to $45.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 10th. Zacks Investment Research cut Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, January 15th. TheStreet cut Southern from a “b-” rating to a “c” rating in a research report on Monday, March 26th. Finally, Mizuho cut Southern from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $44.50 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Tuesday, January 23rd. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Southern currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $49.17.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, February 21st. The utilities provider reported $0.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.05. Southern had a net margin of 3.82% and a return on equity of 11.96%. The firm had revenue of $5.63 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.17 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.24 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 8.6% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Southern will post 2.91 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 21st will be issued a dividend of $0.60 per share. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.31%. This is a positive change from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.58. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 18th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 76.82%.
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The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. 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, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, and Maryland, as well as provides gas marketing services, wholesale gas services, and gas midstream operations.
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