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Do Institutions Own Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) Shares?

Simply Wall St

Every investor in Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. Institutions will often hold stock in bigger companies, and we expect to see insiders owning a noticeable percentage of the smaller ones. Companies that have been privatized tend to have low insider ownership.

Southwest Airlines is a pretty big company. It has a market capitalization of US$29b. Normally institutions would own a significant portion of a company this size. Taking a look at our data on the ownership groups (below), it's seems that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's delve deeper into each type of owner, to discover more about LUV.

View our latest analysis for Southwest Airlines

NYSE:LUV Ownership Summary, October 15th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Southwest Airlines?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

Southwest Airlines already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own 73% of the company. 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 Southwest Airlines's historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

NYSE:LUV Income Statement, October 15th 2019

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. Hedge funds don't have many shares in Southwest Airlines. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Southwest Airlines

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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.

I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Southwest Airlines Co. in their own names. 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$88m worth of shares. In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, with a 16% stake in the company, will not easily be ignored. 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.

Public Company Ownership

Public companies currently own 10.0% of LUV stock. 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.

I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow, for free.

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.