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With 82% institutional ownership, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is a favorite amongst the big guns

Key Insights

  • Significantly high institutional ownership implies ConocoPhillips' stock price is sensitive to their trading actions

  • The top 18 shareholders own 50% of the company

  • Insiders have been selling lately

If you want to know who really controls ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. We can see that institutions own the lion's share in the company with 82% ownership. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

Because institutional owners have a huge pool of resources and liquidity, their investing decisions tend to carry a great deal of weight, especially with individual investors. Therefore, a good portion of institutional money invested in the company is usually a huge vote of confidence on its future.

Let's delve deeper into each type of owner of ConocoPhillips, beginning with the chart below.

View our latest analysis for ConocoPhillips

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About ConocoPhillips?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it's included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in ConocoPhillips. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of ConocoPhillips, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Hedge funds don't have many shares in ConocoPhillips. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc. with 9.3% of shares outstanding. BlackRock, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 8.3% of common stock, and State Street Global Advisors, Inc. holds about 4.7% of the company stock.

After doing some more digging, we found that the top 18 have the combined ownership of 50% in the company, suggesting that no single shareholder has significant control over the company.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of ConocoPhillips

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.

Most consider insider ownership a positive because it can indicate the board is well aligned with other shareholders. However, on some occasions too much power is concentrated within this group.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of ConocoPhillips. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$144m of stock. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 18% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand ConocoPhillips better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for ConocoPhillips (1 is potentially serious) that you should be aware of.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter future.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.