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Could Surface Oncology, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SURF) Investor Composition Influence The Stock Price?

Lester Strauss

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Every investor in Surface Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ:SURF) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Generally speaking, as a company grows, institutions will increase their ownership. Conversely, insiders often decrease their ownership over time. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

Surface Oncology is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of US$140m, which means it wouldn’t have the attention of many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let’s take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about SURF.

View our latest analysis for Surface Oncology

NasdaqGM:SURF Ownership Summary, February 21st 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Surface Oncology?

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.

Surface Oncology already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 23% of 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. 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 Surface Oncology’s historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there’s always more to the story.

NasdaqGM:SURF Income Statement, February 21st 2019

Our data indicates that hedge funds own 8.2% of Surface Oncology. That catches my attention because hedge funds sometimes try to influence management, or bring about changes that will create near term value for shareholders. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Surface Oncology

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.

Shareholders would probably be interested to learn that insiders own shares in Surface Oncology, Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$140m, and insiders have US$1.4m worth of shares, in their own names. This shows at least some alignment, but I usually like to see larger insider holdings. You can click here to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a 10% stake in SURF. While this group can’t necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Private Equity Ownership

Private equity firms hold a 41% stake in SURF. This suggests they can be influential in key policy decisions. Some might like this, because private equity are sometimes activists who hold management accountable. But other times, private equity is selling out, having taking the company public.

Public Company Ownership

We can see that public companies hold 14%, of the SURF shares on issue. We can’t be certain, but this is quite possible this is a strategic stake. The businesses may be similar, or work together.

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.

Many find it useful to take an in depth look at how a company has performed in the past. You can access this detailed graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow .

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.