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Could The SM Energy Company (NYSE:SM) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

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·4 min read
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A look at the shareholders of SM Energy Company (NYSE:SM) 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. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

SM Energy has a market capitalization of US$6.2b, 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. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows 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 SM Energy.

Check out our latest analysis for SM Energy

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About SM Energy?

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.

We can see that SM Energy does have institutional investors; and they hold a good portion of the company's stock. 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 SM Energy, (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 SM Energy. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the company's largest shareholder with 16% of shares outstanding. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 12% and 5.7%, of the shares outstanding, respectively.

After doing some more digging, we found that the top 13 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 SM Energy

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.

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.

We can report that insiders do own shares in SM Energy Company. It is a pretty big company, so it is generally a positive to see some potentially meaningful alignment. In this case, they own around US$119m worth of shares (at current prices). Most would say this shows alignment of interests between shareholders and the board. Still, it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, who are usually individual investors, hold a 11% stake in SM Energy. 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 SM Energy better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with SM Energy , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

If you would prefer discover what analysts are predicting in terms of future growth, do not miss this free report on analyst forecasts.

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.