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With 70% institutional ownership, Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSE:CP) is a favorite amongst the big guns

Every investor in Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSE:CP) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 70% 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).

Since institutional have access to huge amounts of capital, their market moves tend to receive a lot of scrutiny by retail or individual investors. Therefore, a good portion of institutional money invested in the company is usually a huge vote of confidence on its future.

In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Canadian Pacific Railway.

View our latest analysis for Canadian Pacific Railway

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Canadian Pacific Railway?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Canadian Pacific Railway. 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. If multiple institutions change their view on a stock at the same time, you could see the share price drop fast. It's therefore worth looking at Canadian Pacific Railway's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

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

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. It looks like hedge funds own 6.0% of Canadian Pacific Railway shares. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. Our data shows that TCI Fund Management Limited is the largest shareholder with 6.0% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 3.4% and 3.3%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

After doing some more digging, we found that the top 23 have the combined ownership of 50% in the company, suggesting that no single shareholder has significant control over the company.

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 Canadian Pacific Railway

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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 Canadian Pacific Railway Limited insiders own under 1% of the company. As it is a large company, we'd only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it's worth noting that they own CA$18m worth of shares. In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, who are usually individual investors, hold a 24% stake in Canadian Pacific Railway. 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 example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Canadian Pacific Railway (1 can't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

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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