Southern Co (NYSE:SO) – Analysts at KeyCorp lowered their FY2018 EPS estimates for shares of Southern in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. KeyCorp analyst P. Ridzon now forecasts that the utilities provider will post earnings of $2.85 per share for the year, down from their prior estimate of $3.05.
A number of other research analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, January 15th. Goldman Sachs Group restated a “sell” rating on shares of Southern in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Mizuho restated a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research report on Tuesday, December 26th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. started coverage on shares of Southern in a research report on Friday, January 12th. They set an “underweight” rating and a $46.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Guggenheim restated a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $49.83.
Shares of Southern (SO) traded up $0.80 during trading on Friday, reaching $43.82. 2,010,486 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 8,197,269. The company has a market capitalization of $43,270.18, a P/E ratio of 51.36, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.19 and a beta of 0.03. Southern has a 12 month low of $42.38 and a 12 month high of $53.51. The company has a current ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 0.57 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.73.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 21st. The utilities provider reported $0.51 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $5.63 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.17 billion. Southern had a net margin of 3.82% and a return on equity of 11.80%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.24 earnings per share.
Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Southern by 3.3% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 71,053,604 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,402,047,000 after purchasing an additional 2,295,466 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Southern by 1.3% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 62,955,468 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,027,527,000 after purchasing an additional 821,503 shares during the period. Capital Research Global Investors raised its position in shares of Southern by 25.3% during the 2nd quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 14,940,226 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $715,338,000 after purchasing an additional 3,015,226 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its position in shares of Southern by 3.5% during the 4th quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 10,933,765 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $525,805,000 after purchasing an additional 370,302 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Southern by 3.4% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 10,321,563 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $495,300,000 after purchasing an additional 342,203 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 53.87% of the company’s stock.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, March 6th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, February 20th will be given a $0.58 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, February 16th. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 5.29%. Southern’s payout ratio is presently 272.94%.
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The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional electric operating companies and the parent entities of Southern Power Company (Southern Power) and Southern Company Gas, and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Company’s segments include Gas distribution operations, Gas marketing services, Wholesale gas services, Gas midstream operations and All other.
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