New Mexico Educational Retirement Board cut its holdings in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 0.6% in the 1st quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 85,837 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 500 shares during the quarter. New Mexico Educational Retirement Board’s holdings in Southern were worth $4,436,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Several other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc increased its holdings in Southern by 1.7% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 77,467,557 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,377,586,000 after acquiring an additional 1,324,658 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Southern by 4.0% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 67,971,011 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,985,286,000 after acquiring an additional 2,593,928 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in Southern by 10.3% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 12,763,112 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $559,911,000 after acquiring an additional 1,188,667 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp increased its holdings in Southern by 6.5% in the 4th quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 12,013,453 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $527,630,000 after acquiring an additional 731,642 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its holdings in Southern by 1.9% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 10,620,343 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $463,048,000 after acquiring an additional 193,771 shares during the last quarter. 56.89% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
SO has been the subject of several recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research raised Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 price objective for the company in a report on Saturday, January 5th. ValuEngine raised Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, March 9th. SunTrust Banks reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $47.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a report on Monday, January 7th. Guggenheim reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $44.00 price objective on shares of Southern in a report on Monday, January 7th. Finally, Citigroup raised Southern from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $45.00 to $50.00 in a report on Thursday, January 24th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. Southern currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $47.15.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, February 20th. The utilities provider reported $0.25 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.23 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $5.34 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.88 billion. Southern had a return on equity of 11.39% and a net margin of 9.54%. The firm’s revenue was down 5.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.51 EPS. On average, equities analysts forecast that Southern Co will post 3.03 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th will be given a dividend of $0.62 per share. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.73%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 17th. This is an increase from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 78.18%.
In other news, CEO William P. Bowers sold 90,942 shares of Southern stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.60, for a total transaction of $4,419,781.20. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 177,043 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,604,289.80. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 18,922 shares of Southern stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.36, for a total value of $952,911.92. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 10,165 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $511,909.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 383,341 shares of company stock valued at $19,342,988. Corporate insiders own 0.73% of the company’s stock.
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.
Further Reading: Earnings Per Share
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