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How Many Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:CNAT) Shares Do Institutions Own?

Simply Wall St

Every investor in Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:CNAT) 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. We also tend to see lower insider ownership in companies that were previously publicly owned.

Conatus Pharmaceuticals is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of US$27m, which means it wouldn't have the attention of many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutional investors have bought into the company. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholder can tell us about CNAT.

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NasdaqGM:CNAT Ownership Summary, May 24th 2019

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Conatus Pharmaceuticals?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors own 19% of Conatus Pharmaceuticals. This suggests some credibility amongst professional investors. But we can't rely on that fact alone, since institutions make bad investments sometimes, just like everyone does. 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 Conatus Pharmaceuticals's historic earnings and revenue, below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

NasdaqGM:CNAT Income Statement, May 24th 2019

Conatus Pharmaceuticals is not owned by hedge funds. There is a little analyst coverage of the stock, but not much. So there is room for it to gain more coverage.

Insider Ownership Of Conatus Pharmaceuticals

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.

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.

I can report that insiders do own shares in Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc.. In their own names, insiders own US$666k worth of stock in the US$27m company. Some would say this shows alignment of interests between shareholders and the board, though I generally prefer to see bigger insider holdings. But it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, mostly retail investors, hold a substantial 71% stake in CNAT, suggesting it is a fairly popular stock. With this size of ownership, retail investors can collectively play a role in decisions that affect shareholder returns, such as dividend policies and the appointment of directors. They can also exercise the power to decline an acquisition or merger that may not improve profitability.

Private Equity Ownership

With a stake of 7.4%, private equity firms could influence the CNAT board. 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.

Next Steps:

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

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 .

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.

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.