High Point Bank & Trust Co. lowered its position in Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) by 6.6% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 3,159 shares of the company’s stock after selling 224 shares during the period. High Point Bank & Trust Co.’s holdings in Southern were worth $169,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in SO. MCF Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Southern by 89.2% in the first quarter. MCF Advisors LLC now owns 2,543 shares of the company’s stock worth $132,000 after buying an additional 1,199 shares during the last quarter. Zions Bancorporation raised its position in shares of Southern by 1.3% in the first quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 2,559 shares of the company’s stock worth $132,000 after buying an additional 32 shares during the last quarter. Barnett & Company Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Southern during the first quarter worth about $155,000. Cribstone Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Southern during the second quarter worth about $184,000. Finally, Montrusco Bolton Investments Inc. raised its position in shares of Southern by 0.5% in the second quarter. Montrusco Bolton Investments Inc. now owns 3,880 shares of the company’s stock worth $208,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 48.92% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) traded up 0.99% during trading on Friday, reaching $51.97. 16,959,347 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Southern Co. has a 52-week low of $42.54 and a 52-week high of $54.64. The company has a market cap of $48.93 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.63 and a beta of 0.05. The company’s 50-day moving average is $52.22 and its 200 day moving average is $51.12.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.74 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $4.45 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.54 billion. Southern had a net margin of 13.77% and a return on equity of 12.50%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.71 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that Southern Co. will post $2.86 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 6th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 15th were paid a dividend of $0.56 per share. This represents a $2.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.31%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 11th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is currently 87.50%.

A number of analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Monday, July 11th. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. Mizuho reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $50.00 price target on shares of Southern in a report on Monday, July 11th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $54.00 price target on shares of Southern in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Finally, Barclays PLC raised shares of Southern from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $54.00 to $62.00 in a report on Thursday, July 14th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $52.32.

In other news, CFO Art P. Beattie sold 62,587 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.00, for a total value of $3,254,524.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 75,140 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,907,280. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Art P. Beattie sold 123,207 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.12, for a total transaction of $6,667,962.84. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 75,141 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,066,630.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Southern Company Profile

The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional operating companies and Southern Power Company (Southern Power), and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. Southern Company’s segments include the sale of electricity by four traditional operating companies, Southern Power and All Other.

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