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Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) is largely controlled by institutional shareholders who own 82% of the company

Key Insights

  • Given the large stake in the stock by institutions, Waste Management's stock price might be vulnerable to their trading decisions

  • A total of 24 investors have a majority stake in the company with 50% ownership

  • Insiders have sold recently

Every investor in Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are institutions with 82% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

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. Hence, having a considerable amount of institutional money invested in a company is often regarded as a desirable trait.

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

See our latest analysis for Waste Management

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Waste Management?

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.

We can see that Waste Management does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at Waste Management's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

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

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Waste Management. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 9.2% of shares outstanding. With 8.7% and 7.5% of the shares outstanding respectively, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Asset Trust and BlackRock, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.

After doing some more digging, we found that the top 24 have the combined ownership of 50% in the company, suggesting that no single shareholder has significant control over the company.

Researching institutional ownership is a good way to gauge and filter a stock's expected performance. The same can be achieved by studying analyst sentiments. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.

Insider Ownership Of Waste Management

The definition of company insiders can be subjective and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Waste Management, Inc. in their own names. As it is a large company, we'd only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it's worth noting that they own US$132m worth of shares. 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, who are usually individual investors, hold a 18% stake in Waste Management. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.

Next Steps:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Waste Management better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks for example - Waste Management has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

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.

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