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Southern Company Rewards its Investors with Dividend Hike

Electric utility firm Southern Company SO has decided to increase its quarterly dividend to 56 cents per share from 54.25 cents in the previous quarter. This marks a 3.2% improvement in the quarterly dividend payment. The new dividend will likely be paid by Jun 6, 2016, to shareholders of record as of May 16, 2016.    

Southern Company − one of the largest electric utility holding companies in the U.S. − revealed that the dividend hike represented the 15th consecutive year of dividend increase. As such, we consider Southern Company’s dividend to be safe and reliable. If the revised dividend is maintained for the rest of the year, the annualized dividend payout of the company will stand at $2.24 per share. Based on the closing price of $50.91 as on Apr 18, 2016, the increased dividend affirms a yield of 4.4%.

Southern Company is expected to report first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 27. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s first-quarter is pegged at 53 cents per share.      

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Southern Company is one of the largest generators of electricity in the nation, serving both regulated and competitive markets across southeastern U.S. The company continues to earn returns that are among the highest in the industry. At the same time Southern Company maintains its position as a low-cost provider of electricity with superior customer satisfaction levels.

However, Southern Company’s heavy reliance on coal-generated energy supply and lack of meaningful contribution from renewable energy are matters of concern.

As a result, Southern Company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it will perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.

Some better-ranked players in the same space include CMS Energy Corp. CMS, Atlantic Power Corporation AT and CenterPoint Energy Inc. CNP. Each of these stocks carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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CMS ENERGY (CMS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CENTERPOINT EGY (CNP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SOUTHERN CO (SO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ATLANTIC PWR CP (AT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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