Southern Downgraded by Jefferies Group to “Hold” (SO)

Southern (NYSE: SO) was downgraded by investment analysts at Jefferies Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday, TheFlyOnTheWall.com reports. They currently have a $46.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group’s target price would indicate a potential upside of 3.02% from the stock’s previous close.

The analysts wrote, “With the current investor focus over lower ROEs and cost overruns at the Kemper County IGCC plant, Jefferies believes that the stock will continue to trade at a group average P/E multiple versus its historical 5-15% premium. Our upgrade was predicated on trading SO at a premium multiple, so we have revised our price target to reflect our updated views and believe the stock is fair value at current levels. Downgrading to Hold.”

Shares of Southern (NYSE: SO) traded up 0.09% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $44.6915. Southern has a 52 week low of $41.75 and a 52 week high of $48.74. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $45.82. The company has a market cap of $38.899 billion and a P/E ratio of 19.06.

Southern (NYSE: SO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 24th. The company reported $0.49 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.49. The company had revenue of $3.90 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.75 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.42 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Southern will post $2.76 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of other firms have also recently commented on SO. Analysts at TheStreet reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Southern in a research note to investors on Wednesday. Separately, analysts at Zacks reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Southern in a research note to investors on Monday. They now have a $47.00 price target on the stock.

Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $47.21.

The Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a holding company, which owns Alabama Power Company (Alabama Power), Georgia Power Company (Georgia Power), Gulf Power Company (Gulf Power), and Mississippi Power Company (Mississippi Power), each of which is an operating public utility company.

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