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Institutional shareholders may be less affected by Waste Management, Inc.'s (NYSE:WM) pullback last week after a year of 8.6% returns

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. With 81% stake, institutions possess the maximum shares in the company. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

Institutional investors was the group most impacted after the company's market cap fell to US$66b last week. However, the 8.6% one-year return to shareholders may have helped lessen their pain. We would assume however, that they would be on the lookout for weakness in the future.

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

Check out 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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Waste Management. 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. 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 Waste Management, (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 Waste Management. Our data shows that The Vanguard Group, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 8.7% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 7.5% and 4.5% of the stock.

Our studies suggest that the top 25 shareholders collectively control less than half of the company's shares, meaning that the company's shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Waste Management

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. The company management answer to the board and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board themselves.

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 information suggests that Waste Management, Inc. 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$116m of stock. It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 18% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

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. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for Waste Management 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.

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