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Could The CSX Corporation (NASDAQ:CSX) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

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·4 min read
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If you want to know who really controls CSX Corporation (NASDAQ:CSX), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

CSX has a market capitalization of US$73b, so it's too big to fly under the radar. We'd expect to see both institutions and retail investors owning a portion of the company. In the chart below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about CSX.

See our latest analysis for CSX

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About CSX?

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.

CSX 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. 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 CSX, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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. Hedge funds don't have many shares in CSX. Capital Research and Management Company is currently the largest shareholder, with 17% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 8.3% and 6.5%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

After doing some more digging, we found that the top 19 have the combined ownership of 50% in the company, suggesting that no single shareholder has significant control over the company.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of CSX

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.

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 information suggests that CSX Corporation 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$58m 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, with a 25% stake in the company, will not 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with CSX .

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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.