Zacks: Analysts Expect Southern Co (NYSE:SO) Will Post Earnings of $0.25 Per Share

Equities research analysts expect Southern Co (NYSE:SO) to post earnings of $0.25 per share for the current quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Two analysts have provided estimates for Southern’s earnings, with the highest EPS estimate coming in at $0.28 and the lowest estimate coming in at $0.20. Southern reported earnings per share of $0.70 in the same quarter last year, which suggests a negative year over year growth rate of 64.3%. The company is scheduled to report its next earnings results on Wednesday, May 6th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Southern will report full-year earnings of $3.17 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.15 to $3.21. For the next year, analysts anticipate that the company will report earnings of $3.30 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.26 to $3.33. Zacks’ EPS averages are an average based on a survey of research analysts that follow Southern.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 20th. The utilities provider reported $0.27 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.27. Southern had a net margin of 22.20% and a return on equity of 10.38%. The business had revenue of $4.91 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.27 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.25 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 7.9% compared to the same quarter last year.

A number of research firms have issued reports on SO. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted their target price on shares of Southern from $63.00 to $64.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 18th. Barclays reduced their price target on shares of Southern from $68.00 to $52.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, March 26th. 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 note on Thursday, February 20th. SunTrust Banks upped their price target on shares of Southern from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 18th. Finally, Evercore ISI reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $63.50 price target on shares of Southern in a research note on Sunday, December 15th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $62.12.

In related news, CEO Stephen E. Kuczynski sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, January 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.53, for a total transaction of $125,060.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 66,564 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,162,246.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 9,843 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.99, for a total transaction of $669,225.57. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 18,146 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,233,746.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 127,827 shares of company stock valued at $8,305,763 over the last three months. Insiders own 0.88% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Valley National Advisers Inc. raised its stake in Southern by 49.0% during the 4th quarter. Valley National Advisers Inc. now owns 447 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $28,000 after purchasing an additional 147 shares during the last quarter. Advisory Alpha LLC raised its stake in shares of Southern by 1.5% in the 4th quarter. Advisory Alpha LLC now owns 10,145 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $655,000 after buying an additional 148 shares in the last quarter. Swaine & Leidel Wealth Services LLC raised its stake in shares of Southern by 4.3% in the 4th quarter. Swaine & Leidel Wealth Services LLC now owns 3,578 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $228,000 after buying an additional 149 shares in the last quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P increased its position in shares of Southern by 9.6% during the 4th quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P now owns 1,742 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 153 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Prio Wealth Limited Partnership increased its position in shares of Southern by 2.2% during the 4th quarter. Prio Wealth Limited Partnership now owns 7,084 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $451,000 after purchasing an additional 154 shares in the last quarter. 59.95% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of NYSE SO traded down $3.22 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $54.77. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 528,113 shares, compared to its average volume of 9,085,126. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37, a quick ratio of 0.63 and a current ratio of 0.78. The firm’s fifty day moving average price is $61.34 and its 200-day moving average price is $62.63. The firm has a market cap of $59.05 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.05, a P/E/G ratio of 4.41 and a beta of 0.38. Southern has a 1-year low of $41.96 and a 1-year high of $71.10.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 6th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, February 18th were given a $0.62 dividend. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.53%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, February 14th. Southern’s dividend payout ratio is 79.74%.

About Southern

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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