Schaper Benz & Wise Investment Counsel Inc. WI cut its position in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 0.3% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 61,775 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 200 shares during the period. Schaper Benz & Wise Investment Counsel Inc. WI’s holdings in Southern were worth $3,816,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the business. Altfest L J & Co. Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Southern by 3.8% in the 2nd quarter. Altfest L J & Co. Inc. now owns 6,574 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $363,000 after acquiring an additional 240 shares during the period. AE Wealth Management LLC grew its stake in Southern by 14.5% during the 2nd quarter. AE Wealth Management LLC now owns 125,153 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $6,918,000 after buying an additional 15,834 shares during the last quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co grew its stake in Southern by 4.0% during the 2nd quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 71,185 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,021,000 after buying an additional 2,752 shares during the last quarter. CWM LLC grew its stake in Southern by 31.4% during the 3rd quarter. CWM LLC now owns 402,808 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $24,881,000 after buying an additional 96,358 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Invesco Ltd. grew its stake in Southern by 22.4% during the 2nd quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 7,200,728 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $398,057,000 after buying an additional 1,319,096 shares during the last quarter. 58.51% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several brokerages recently weighed in on SO. UBS Group boosted their target price on Southern from $58.00 to $62.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, September 6th. Morgan Stanley dropped their target price on Southern from $55.00 to $54.00 and set an “underweight” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, August 16th. Citigroup boosted their target price on Southern from $55.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 29th. SunTrust Banks set a $59.00 target price on Southern and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 3rd. Finally, Bank of America boosted their target price on Southern from $60.00 to $64.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 12th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. Southern presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $56.80.

Southern stock traded up $0.55 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $61.26. 3,899,282 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 3,796,997. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37, a current ratio of 0.94 and a quick ratio of 0.77. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $61.54 and its 200-day moving average price is $57.23. The stock has a market capitalization of $64.35 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.95, a P/E/G ratio of 4.42 and a beta of 0.15. Southern Co has a 1 year low of $42.50 and a 1 year high of $63.09.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 30th. The utilities provider reported $1.34 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.20. The business had revenue of $6 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.01 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 10.52% and a net margin of 21.02%. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.14 EPS. Research analysts forecast that Southern Co will post 3.09 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 6th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 18th will be paid a dividend of $0.62 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 15th. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.05%. Southern’s payout ratio is presently 80.78%.

In other Southern news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.28, for a total transaction of $116,560.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 69,772 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,066,312.16. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 123,533 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.87, for a total value of $7,642,986.71. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 191,305 shares in the company, valued at approximately $11,836,040.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 177,533 shares of company stock worth $10,941,987. Company insiders own 0.88% of the company’s stock.

About Southern

The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It operates in four segments: Gas Distribution Operations, Gas Pipeline Investments, Wholesale Gas Services, and Gas Marketing Services. 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, and Tennessee, as well as provides gas marketing services, wholesale gas services, and gas pipeline investments operations.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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