Argent Trust Co Decreases Stock Holdings in Southern Co (NYSE:SO)

Argent Trust Co trimmed its stake in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 2.4% in the 1st quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 33,896 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 828 shares during the period. Argent Trust Co’s holdings in Southern were worth $1,836,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. State Street Corp raised its holdings in shares of Southern by 5.4% during the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 57,215,014 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,644,596,000 after purchasing an additional 2,944,110 shares during the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA increased its holdings in Southern by 3.6% during the fourth quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 26,003,266 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,656,408,000 after buying an additional 898,413 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in Southern by 2.1% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 15,184,449 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $966,567,000 after buying an additional 310,440 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its holdings in Southern by 0.3% during the fourth quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 8,262,196 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $526,302,000 after buying an additional 26,412 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Norges Bank purchased a new stake in Southern during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $494,229,000. 58.84% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

SO has been the subject of a number of research reports. Credit Suisse Group raised shares of Southern from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and upped their target price for the company from $60.00 to $61.00 in a report on Monday, May 4th. Citigroup upped their target price on shares of Southern from $61.00 to $73.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, January 27th. Morgan Stanley reduced their target price on shares of Southern from $57.00 to $52.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a report on Friday, May 15th. UBS Group lowered shares of Southern from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $54.00 to $63.00 in a research report on Thursday. Finally, Cfra upped their price target on shares of Southern from $62.00 to $66.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 20th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $61.90.

In other news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 9,843 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.99, for a total value of $669,225.57. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 18,146 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,233,746.54. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.59, for a total transaction of $103,180.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 84,396 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,353,989.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 13,843 shares of company stock worth $881,346. Insiders own 0.39% of the company’s stock.

SO stock traded up $0.75 during trading on Friday, hitting $54.58. 4,407,150 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 5,260,371. Southern Co has a 52 week low of $41.96 and a 52 week high of $71.10. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.44, a quick ratio of 0.78 and a current ratio of 0.99. The business has a fifty day simple moving average of $55.58 and a 200 day simple moving average of $61.17. The stock has a market capitalization of $56.90 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.24, a P/E/G ratio of 4.26 and a beta of 0.44.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 30th. The utilities provider reported $0.78 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.07. Southern had a net margin of 16.83% and a return on equity of 10.57%. The business had revenue of $5.02 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.45 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.70 earnings per share. Southern’s quarterly revenue was down 7.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Research analysts forecast that Southern Co will post 3.16 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 18th will be paid a $0.64 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 15th. This represents a $2.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.69%. This is an increase from Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.62. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is currently 82.32%.

Southern Profile

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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