Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. cut its holdings in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 0.9% during the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 217,263 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 1,863 shares during the period. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co.’s holdings in Southern were worth $9,474,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other large investors have also modified their holdings of SO. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA increased its stake in Southern by 17.3% during the second quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 17,342,735 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $803,142,000 after purchasing an additional 2,552,028 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley increased its stake in Southern by 35.0% during the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 4,929,465 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $228,284,000 after purchasing an additional 1,278,656 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Southern by 1.8% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 64,498,296 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,986,915,000 after purchasing an additional 1,168,307 shares during the period. Commonwealth Bank of Australia increased its stake in Southern by 16.1% during the second quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 8,334,190 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $385,555,000 after purchasing an additional 1,156,583 shares during the period. Finally, Mainstay Capital Management LLC ADV increased its stake in Southern by 2,035.4% during the second quarter. Mainstay Capital Management LLC ADV now owns 861,791 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $19,097,000 after purchasing an additional 821,434 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 57.42% of the company’s stock.
In other news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 16,371 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.40, for a total transaction of $775,985.40. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 10,165 shares in the company, valued at $481,821. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 0.73% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.80 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.11. Southern had a return on equity of 13.06% and a net margin of 9.96%. The company had revenue of $5.63 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.28 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.73 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Southern Co will post 3.02 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently declared 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. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.26%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 16th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 79.47%.
SO has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Bank of America raised Southern from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $46.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, October 10th. Morgan Stanley lowered their price objective on Southern from $45.00 to $44.00 and set a “sell” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, September 21st. Zacks Investment Research raised Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, October 9th. Citigroup downgraded Southern from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $45.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, August 8th. Finally, Evercore ISI downgraded Southern from an “in-line” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 9th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $46.11.
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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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