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Are Institutions Heavily Invested In Marathon Petroleum Corporation's (NYSE:MPC) Shares?

Simply Wall St
·4 min read

If you want to know who really controls Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. Companies that used to be publicly owned tend to have lower insider ownership.

Marathon Petroleum has a market capitalization of US$19b, 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 are noticeable on the share registry. We can zoom in on the different ownership groups, to learn more about Marathon Petroleum.

View our latest analysis for Marathon Petroleum

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Marathon Petroleum?

Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.

We can see that Marathon Petroleum 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. 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 Marathon Petroleum'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

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in Marathon Petroleum. Our data shows that BlackRock, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 11% of shares outstanding. For context, the second largest shareholder holds about 8.5% of the shares outstanding, followed by an ownership of 5.7% by the third-largest shareholder.

On studying our ownership data, we found that 25 of the top shareholders collectively own less than 50% of the share register, implying that no single individual has a majority interest.

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. Quite a few analysts cover the stock, so you could look into forecast growth quite easily.

Insider Ownership Of Marathon Petroleum

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Management ultimately answers to the board. However, it is not uncommon for managers to be executive board members, especially if they are a founder or the CEO.

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 Marathon Petroleum Corporation insiders own under 1% of the company. As it is a large company, we'd only expect insiders to own a small percentage of it. But it's worth noting that they own US$104m worth of shares. It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

With a 24% ownership, the general public have some degree of sway over Marathon Petroleum. While this size of ownership may not be enough to sway a policy decision in their favour, they can still make a collective impact on company policies.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Marathon Petroleum (at least 1 which is significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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@simplywallst.com.