Southern Co (SO) Position Cut by Murphy Capital Management Inc.

Murphy Capital Management Inc. lessened its stake in shares of Southern Co (NYSE:SO) by 5.6% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The fund owned 23,976 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 1,435 shares during the quarter. Murphy Capital Management Inc.’s holdings in Southern were worth $1,053,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of SO. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its holdings in Southern by 1.7% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 77,467,557 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,377,586,000 after buying an additional 1,324,658 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in Southern by 1.4% in the third quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 65,377,083 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,850,440,000 after buying an additional 878,787 shares during the period. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA lifted its holdings in Southern by 5.1% in the third quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 18,224,108 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $794,571,000 after buying an additional 881,373 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its holdings in Southern by 1.9% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 10,620,343 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $463,048,000 after buying an additional 193,771 shares during the period. Finally, FMR LLC lifted its holdings in Southern by 28.2% in the third quarter. FMR LLC now owns 8,617,581 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $375,726,000 after buying an additional 1,896,970 shares during the period. 56.84% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several equities analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Mizuho restated a “hold” rating and issued a $46.00 target price on shares of Southern in a report on Tuesday, December 11th. Citigroup upgraded shares of Southern from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $45.00 to $50.00 in a report on Thursday, January 24th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $53.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, December 4th. Barclays upped their price objective on shares of Southern from $48.00 to $49.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, November 19th. Finally, SunTrust Banks reissued a “hold” rating and set a $48.00 target price on shares of Southern in a research report on Thursday, November 8th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $46.64.

In other news, CEO Kimberly S. Greene sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, December 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.03, for a total value of $705,450.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 9,380 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $441,141.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CEO William P. Bowers sold 90,942 shares of the stock in a transaction on 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 transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 177,043 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,604,289.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 114,942 shares of company stock worth $5,553,451 over the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 0.73% of the company’s stock.

NYSE SO opened at $49.12 on Monday. Southern Co has a 1 year low of $42.38 and a 1 year high of $49.43. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.48, a quick ratio of 0.58 and a current ratio of 0.72. The company has a market capitalization of $50.54 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.26, a PEG ratio of 3.63 and a beta of 0.19.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 6th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, February 19th will be paid a $0.60 dividend. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.89%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, February 15th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is presently 79.47%.

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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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Southern (NYSE:SO)

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