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With 83% ownership of the shares, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is heavily dominated by institutional owners

If you want to know who really controls ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are institutions with 83% ownership. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

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 take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about ConocoPhillips.

Check out our latest analysis for ConocoPhillips

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About ConocoPhillips?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

ConocoPhillips already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. When multiple institutions own a stock, there's always a risk that they are in a 'crowded trade'. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see ConocoPhillips' historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

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. ConocoPhillips is not owned by hedge funds. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 9.1% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 7.8% and 6.9% of the stock.

A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 17 shareholders have a combined ownership of 51% implying that no single shareholder has a majority.

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. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of ConocoPhillips

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.

Our information suggests that ConocoPhillips insiders own under 1% of the company. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$151m 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

With a 17% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over ConocoPhillips. 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 ConocoPhillips better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks for example - ConocoPhillips has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.

Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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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