Haverford Trust Co. boosted its stake in Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 12.9% during the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The institutional investor owned 11,604 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after buying an additional 1,329 shares during the period. Haverford Trust Co.’s holdings in Southern were worth $558,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Taylor Hoffman Wealth Management acquired a new position in Southern in the fourth quarter worth $104,000. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA acquired a new position in Southern in the third quarter worth $105,000. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC acquired a new position in Southern in the third quarter worth $118,000. Acropolis Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in Southern in the fourth quarter worth $134,000. Finally, Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Co. acquired a new position in Southern in the third quarter worth $147,000. 53.87% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Southern Co (SO) opened at $44.20 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.84, a quick ratio of 0.59 and a current ratio of 0.74. Southern Co has a one year low of $42.38 and a one year high of $53.51. The stock has a market capitalization of $44,560.63, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.64, a PEG ratio of 3.37 and a beta of 0.07.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 21st. The utilities provider reported $0.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.05. Southern had a return on equity of 11.96% and a net margin of 3.82%. The business had revenue of $5.63 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.17 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.24 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.6% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts forecast that Southern Co will post 2.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, March 6th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, February 20th will be paid a dividend of $0.58 per share. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.25%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, February 16th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 272.94%.

A number of equities analysts have commented on SO shares. SunTrust Banks set a $45.00 price objective on Southern and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, February 23rd. Zacks Investment Research lowered Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, January 15th. Mizuho lowered Southern from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $44.50 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, January 23rd. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Southern in a research note on Friday, December 22nd. Finally, UBS Group started coverage on Southern in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $46.00 price objective on the stock. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $49.41.

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

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