Southern (SO) Given Hold Rating at SunTrust Banks

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SunTrust Banks reaffirmed their hold rating on shares of Southern (NYSE:SO) in a research report report published on Thursday. SunTrust Banks currently has a $48.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock.

Several other research firms have also weighed in on SO. 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. Scotiabank reissued a sector perform rating on shares of Southern in a research report on Tuesday, July 24th. Credit Suisse Group lowered Southern from a neutral rating to an underperform rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $46.00 to $43.00 in a research report on Thursday, August 9th. Evercore ISI lowered Southern from an in-line rating to an underperform rating in a research report on Thursday, August 9th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Southern from a hold rating to a sell 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 given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $45.96.

NYSE:SO traded up $0.23 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $46.81. 6,378,346 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 6,232,559. The firm has a market cap of $46.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.50, a P/E/G ratio of 3.37 and a beta of -0.09. 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 has a one year low of $42.38 and a one year high of $52.65.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 7th. The utilities provider reported $1.14 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.07. The business had revenue of $6.70 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.68 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 13.06% and a net margin of 9.96%. Southern’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.12 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Southern will post 3.02 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, November 19th will be paid a $0.60 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, November 16th. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.13%. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is presently 79.47%.

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

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Kaizen Advisory LLC boosted its stake in Southern by 133.8% during the 2nd quarter. Kaizen Advisory LLC now owns 2,284 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $106,000 after purchasing an additional 1,307 shares during the last quarter. Destination Wealth Management boosted its stake in shares of Southern by 359.3% in the 2nd quarter. Destination Wealth Management now owns 2,315 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $107,000 after buying an additional 1,811 shares during the last quarter. Point72 Hong Kong Ltd purchased a new position in shares of Southern in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $119,000. Horan Capital Advisors LLC. purchased a new position in shares of Southern in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $121,000. Finally, Sound Income Strategies LLC boosted its stake in shares of Southern by 83.5% in the 3rd quarter. Sound Income Strategies LLC now owns 2,855 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $124,000 after buying an additional 1,299 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 57.42% 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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Analyst Recommendations for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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