Southern (SO) Price Target Raised to $47.00 at UBS Group

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Southern (NYSE:SO) had its target price hoisted by UBS Group from $46.00 to $47.00 in a research note released on Monday, www.benzinga.com reports. The brokerage currently has a neutral rating on the utilities provider’s stock.

SO has been the subject of a number of other reports. ValuEngine raised shares of Southern from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, October 19th. Barclays cut shares of Southern from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and dropped their target price for the company from $51.00 to $48.00 in a report on Thursday, August 9th. Howard Weil initiated coverage on shares of Southern in a report on Tuesday, July 24th. They issued a sector perform rating and a $45.00 target price for the company. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Southern from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $49.00 target price for the company in a report on Tuesday, October 9th. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their target price on shares of Southern from $42.00 to $45.00 and gave the company an underweight rating in a report on Monday, July 16th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $46.11.

NYSE SO traded down $0.03 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $45.86. 299,798 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 6,005,886. The stock has a market capitalization of $45.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.23, a P/E/G ratio of 3.32 and a beta of -0.05. Southern has a 12-month low of $42.38 and a 12-month high of $53.51. The company has a quick ratio of 0.68, a current ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.59.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.80 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.11. The firm had revenue of $5.63 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.28 billion. Southern had a net margin of 9.96% and a return on equity of 13.06%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.73 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Southern will post 3 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, November 19th will be paid a dividend of $0.60 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, November 16th. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.23%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 79.47%.

In other news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 16,371 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.40, for a total transaction of $775,985.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 10,165 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $481,821. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.73% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Ipswich Investment Management Co. Inc. boosted its position in Southern by 5.4% during the second quarter. Ipswich Investment Management Co. Inc. now owns 21,309 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $987,000 after acquiring an additional 1,090 shares during the last quarter. Moloney Securities Asset Management LLC boosted its position in Southern by 17.1% during the second quarter. Moloney Securities Asset Management LLC now owns 7,474 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $346,000 after acquiring an additional 1,093 shares during the last quarter. Andra AP fonden boosted its position in Southern by 2.1% during the second quarter. Andra AP fonden now owns 52,500 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,431,000 after acquiring an additional 1,100 shares during the last quarter. BB&T Corp boosted its position in Southern by 0.7% during the second quarter. BB&T Corp now owns 157,644 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $7,301,000 after acquiring an additional 1,138 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Quadrant Capital Group LLC boosted its position in Southern by 22.6% during the second quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 6,587 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $293,000 after acquiring an additional 1,214 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 57.34% of the company’s stock.

About Southern

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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