A look at the shareholders of Weis Markets, Inc. (NYSE:WMK) can tell us which group is most powerful. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. I quite like to see at least a little bit of insider ownership. As Charlie Munger said 'Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.
Weis Markets has a market capitalization of US$1.3b, so we would expect some institutional investors to have noticed the stock. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it seems that institutions own shares in the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Weis Markets.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Weis Markets?
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.
Weis Markets already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. 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 Weis Markets, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Hedge funds don't have many shares in Weis Markets. With a 39% stake, CEO Jonathan Weis is the largest shareholder. With 7.5% and 5.9% of the shares outstanding respectively, Dimensional Fund Advisors L.P. and The Vanguard Group, Inc. are the second and third largest shareholders.
After doing some more digging, we found that the top 3 shareholders collectively control more than half of the company's shares, implying that they have considerable power to influence the company's decisions.
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. We're not picking up on any analyst coverage of the stock at the moment, so the company is unlikely to be widely held.
Insider Ownership Of Weis Markets
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.
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 a reasonable proportion of Weis Markets, Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$1.3b, and insiders have US$507m worth of shares in their own names. That's quite significant. Most would say this shows a good degree of alignment with shareholders, especially in a company of this size. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
With a 20% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Weis Markets. 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.
While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important.
I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow, for free.
If you would prefer check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, backed by strong financial data.
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.
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