Girard Partners LTD. increased its stake in shares of Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) by 5.1% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 6,166 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after buying an additional 301 shares during the period. Girard Partners LTD.’s holdings in Southern Company (The) were worth $307,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. increased its position in Southern Company (The) by 10.8% in the first quarter. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. now owns 2,050 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Feltz Wealth PLAN Inc. bought a new position in Southern Company (The) during the first quarter valued at $108,000. Advantage Investment Management LLC bought a new position in Southern Company (The) during the fourth quarter valued at $113,000. Signature Estate & Investment Advisors LLC bought a new position in Southern Company (The) during the first quarter valued at $132,000. Finally, Zions Bancorporation increased its position in Southern Company (The) by 9.8% in the fourth quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 2,811 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $138,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 53.88% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO)

Shares of Southern Company (NYSE:SO) opened at 51.53 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $51.25 billion, a PE ratio of 19.27 and a beta of 0.11. Southern Company has a 52 week low of $46.20 and a 52 week high of $54.64. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $50.32 and its 200 day moving average price is $49.53.

Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, May 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.66 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.08. Southern Company (The) had a net margin of 12.38% and a return on equity of 11.37%. The business had revenue of $5.77 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.58 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.58 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 44.6% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that Southern Company will post $2.97 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 15th were given a dividend of $0.58 per share. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.50%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, May 11th. This is a positive change from Southern Company (The)’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. Southern Company (The)’s payout ratio is presently 85.29%.

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Several equities analysts have recently commented on SO shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Southern Company (The) from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 25th. Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on Southern Company (The) from $50.00 to $51.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research report on Monday, May 8th. Argus downgraded Southern Company (The) from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, March 3rd. Barclays PLC restated a “buy” rating and issued a $55.00 price objective on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research report on Monday, May 15th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC restated a “buy” rating and issued a $56.00 price objective on shares of Southern Company (The) in a research report on Wednesday, April 12th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $51.79.

In other news, VP James Y. Kerr II sold 68,609 shares of Southern Company (The) stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.05, for a total transaction of $3,433,880.45. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 69,609 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,483,930.45. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Mark Lantrip sold 25,000 shares of Southern Company (The) stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.50, for a total transaction of $1,287,500.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 31,080 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,600,620. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 145,549 shares of company stock worth $7,395,190. Corporate insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Southern Company (The) Company Profile

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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