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Could The Weis Markets, Inc. (NYSE:WMK) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

Simply Wall St

A look at the shareholders of Weis Markets, Inc. (NYSE:WMK) can tell us which group is most powerful. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies. Warren Buffett said that he likes 'a business with enduring competitive advantages that is run by able and owner-oriented people'. So it's nice to see some insider ownership, because it may suggest that management is owner-oriented.

With a market capitalization of US$1.1b, Weis Markets is a decent size, so it is probably on the radar of institutional investors. In the chart below below, we can see that institutions own shares in the company. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about WMK.

View our latest analysis for Weis Markets

NYSE:WMK Ownership Summary, September 11th 2019

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.

We can see that Weis Markets does have institutional investors; and they hold 40% of the stock. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. 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 Weis Markets's earnings history, below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

NYSE:WMK Income Statement, September 11th 2019

We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Weis Markets. Our information suggests that there isn't any analyst coverage of the stock, so it is probably little known.

Insider Ownership Of Weis Markets

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. 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.

Our most recent data indicates that insiders own a reasonable proportion of Weis Markets, Inc.. It has a market capitalization of just US$1.1b, and insiders have US$436m 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 WMK. 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:

It's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Weis Markets better, we need to consider many other factors.

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can find historic revenue and earnings in this detailed graph.

Of course this may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free free list of interesting companies.

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.