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An excellent week for Waste Management, Inc.'s (NYSE:WM) institutional owners who own 86% as one-year returns inch higher

If you want to know who really controls Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM), 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 86% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

And as as result, institutional investors reaped the most rewards after the company's stock price gained 3.3% last week. The one-year return on investment is currently 5.7% and last week's gain would have been more than welcomed.

Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Waste Management.

See our latest analysis for Waste Management

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Waste Management?

Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.

Waste Management 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 Waste Management's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

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

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Waste Management. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc. with 9.0% of shares outstanding. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Asset Trust is the second largest shareholder owning 8.6% of common stock, and BlackRock, Inc. holds about 7.5% of the company stock.

Looking at the shareholder registry, we can see that 51% of the ownership is controlled by the top 20 shareholders, meaning that no single shareholder has a majority interest in the ownership.

While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Waste Management

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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 Waste Management, Inc.. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$123m of stock. Arguably recent buying and selling is just as important to consider. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 14% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. 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:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Take risks for example - Waste Management has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its 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.

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