Bahl & Gaynor Inc. lessened its stake in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 14.2% in the 1st quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 31,229 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 5,150 shares during the quarter. Bahl & Gaynor Inc.’s holdings in Southern were worth $1,395,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other large investors also recently modified their holdings of the company. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its position in Southern by 82.2% in the 1st quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 38,962,463 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,740,063,000 after purchasing an additional 17,572,472 shares during the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA raised its position in Southern by 55.4% in the 1st quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 14,790,707 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $660,554,000 after purchasing an additional 5,270,905 shares during the last quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA raised its position in Southern by 22.6% in the 1st quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 9,318,556 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $416,167,000 after purchasing an additional 1,717,553 shares during the last quarter. Luminus Management LLC purchased a new stake in Southern in the 4th quarter valued at $70,674,000. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Southern in the 4th quarter valued at $45,617,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 56.79% of the company’s stock.
Several brokerages have issued reports on SO. Citigroup raised shares of Southern from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $44.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Friday. SunTrust Banks set a $46.00 price objective on shares of Southern and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, March 19th. Credit Suisse Group reissued an “underperform” rating and issued a $45.00 price objective (down from $46.00) on shares of Southern in a research note on Tuesday, February 27th. ValuEngine cut shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 8th. Finally, TheStreet raised shares of Southern from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research note on Monday, June 4th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $48.90.
Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.88 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.84 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $6.37 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.98 billion. Southern had a net margin of 4.88% and a return on equity of 12.97%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 10.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.66 EPS. equities research analysts forecast that Southern Co will post 2.9 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, June 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 21st were issued a dividend of $0.60 per share. This is a positive change from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.58. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.24%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, May 18th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is presently 79.47%.
Southern Company Profile
The Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. 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, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, and Maryland, as well as provides gas marketing services, wholesale gas services, and gas midstream operations.
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