Southern Sees Unusually High Options Volume (NYSE:SO)

Southern Company (The) (NYSE:SO) was the target of some unusual options trading on Thursday. Stock traders purchased 22,318 call options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately Infinity compared to the typical volume of 0 call options.

A number of equities research analysts recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Southern from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, November 3rd. Bank of America reaffirmed an “underperform” rating and issued a $51.00 price target on shares of Southern in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $52.00 price target on shares of Southern in a report on Friday, October 20th. Citigroup reissued a “sell” rating and set a $44.00 target price (up previously from $43.00) on shares of Southern in a report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada raised shares of Southern from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $53.00 target price on the stock in a report on Friday, September 29th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Southern presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $49.72.

In other news, EVP Christopher C. Womack sold 46,641 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.00, for a total value of $2,471,973.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 56,799 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,010,347. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Ann P. Daiss sold 5,080 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.28, for a total value of $270,662.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 7,474 shares in the company, valued at approximately $398,214.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 213,813 shares of company stock valued at $11,029,988 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.74% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of SO. AlphaMark Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Southern by 115.7% during the first quarter. AlphaMark Advisors LLC now owns 2,349 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $117,000 after acquiring an additional 1,260 shares during the last quarter. Hancock Holding Co. raised its stake in shares of Southern by 57.6% during the first quarter. Hancock Holding Co. now owns 42,372 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,109,000 after acquiring an additional 15,484 shares during the last quarter. Northstar Wealth Partners LLC bought a new position in shares of Southern during the first quarter valued at about $1,302,000. Mason Street Advisors LLC raised its stake in Southern by 2.2% in the first quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 136,956 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $6,818,000 after buying an additional 2,897 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in Southern by 1.5% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 219,079 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $10,906,000 after buying an additional 3,200 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 53.78% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Southern (NYSE:SO) traded up $0.53 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $50.89. 4,041,575 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 4,676,240. Southern has a one year low of $46.58 and a one year high of $53.51. The stock has a market capitalization of $50,780.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.30, a PEG ratio of 4.54 and a beta of 0.13. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.73, a current ratio of 0.73 and a quick ratio of 0.57.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $1.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.04. Southern had a net margin of 2.59% and a return on equity of 10.81%. The company had revenue of $6.20 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.16 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.27 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts predict that Southern will post 2.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, December 6th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 20th will be given a dividend of $0.58 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 17th. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.56%. Southern’s payout ratio is 414.29%.

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Southern Company Profile

The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional electric operating companies and the parent entities of Southern Power Company (Southern Power) and Southern Company Gas, and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Company’s segments include Gas distribution operations, Gas marketing services, Wholesale gas services, Gas midstream operations and All other.

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