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Lowe's Companies, Inc.'s (NYSE:LOW) one-year returns climbed after last week's 5.5% gain, institutional investors must be happy

Key Insights

  • Significantly high institutional ownership implies Lowe's Companies' stock price is sensitive to their trading actions

  • 46% of the business is held by the top 25 shareholders

  • Recent sales by insiders

To get a sense of who is truly in control of Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 77% to be precise, is institutions. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

Last week’s 5.5% gain means that institutional investors were on the positive end of the spectrum even as the company has shown strong longer-term trends. The gains from last week would have further boosted the one-year return to shareholders which currently stand at 0.8%.

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

See our latest analysis for Lowe's Companies

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Lowe's Companies?

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.

Lowe's Companies already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. 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 Lowe's Companies' 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. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Lowe's Companies. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc. with 9.1% of shares outstanding. With 7.5% and 4.3% of the shares outstanding respectively, BlackRock, Inc. and State Street Global Advisors, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.

On studying our ownership data, we found that 25 of the top shareholders collectively own less than 50% of the share register, implying that no single individual has a majority interest.

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

Insider Ownership Of Lowe's Companies

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. 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.

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 most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of Lowe's Companies, Inc.. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$84m 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, who are usually individual investors, hold a 22% stake in Lowe's Companies. 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:

I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Lowe's Companies (1 is a bit unpleasant) that 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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