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Institutional investors in Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE:DVN) see US$6.0b decrease in market cap last week, although long-term gains have benefitted them.

If you want to know who really controls Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE:DVN), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. We can see that institutions own the lion's share in the company with 79% ownership. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

Institutional investors was the group most impacted after the company's market cap fell to US$38b last week. However, the 88% one-year returns may have helped alleviate their overall losses. They should, however, be mindful of further losses in the future.

Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Devon Energy.

See our latest analysis for Devon Energy

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Devon 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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Devon Energy. 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. 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 Devon Energy's historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

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

Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Devon Energy is not owned by hedge funds. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 12% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 8.3% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 6.1% by the third-largest shareholder.

A closer look at our ownership figures suggests that the top 24 shareholders have a combined ownership of 51% implying that no single shareholder has a majority.

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. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.

Insider Ownership Of Devon Energy

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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.

Our information suggests that Devon Energy Corporation insiders own under 1% of the company. It is a very large company, so it would be surprising to see insiders own a large proportion of the company. Though their holding amounts to less than 1%, we can see that board members collectively own US$262m worth of shares (at current prices). It is good to see board members owning shares, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying.

General Public Ownership

With a 20% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over Devon Energy. 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:

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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Devon Energy (at least 1 which is significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Ultimately the future is most important. You can access this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

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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