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In the wake of U.S. Bancorp's (NYSE:USB) latest US$5.6b market cap drop, institutional owners may be forced to take severe actions

Every investor in U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) should be aware of the most powerful shareholder groups. The group holding the most number of shares in the company, around 68% to be precise, is institutions. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

And institutional investors endured the highest losses after the company's share price fell by 8.2% last week. This set of investors may especially be concerned about the current loss, which adds to a one-year loss of 27% for shareholders. Often called “market makers”, institutions wield significant power in influencing the price dynamics of any stock. As a result, if the decline continues, institutional investors may be pressured to sell U.S. Bancorp which might hurt individual investors.

In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of U.S. Bancorp.

Check out our latest analysis for U.S. Bancorp

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About U.S. Bancorp?

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.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in U.S. Bancorp. 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. 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 U.S. Bancorp's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

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. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in U.S. Bancorp. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is Berkshire Hathaway Inc. with 8.1% of shares outstanding. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 7.7% of common stock, and BlackRock, Inc. holds about 6.7% of the company stock.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than half of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where 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 U.S. Bancorp

The definition of company insiders can be subjective and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. 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.

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 most recent data indicates that insiders own less than 1% of U.S. Bancorp. 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$115m worth of shares (at current prices). 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

The general public-- including retail investors -- own 24% stake in the company, and hence can't easily be ignored. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.

Public Company Ownership

Public companies currently own 8.1% of U.S. Bancorp stock. It's hard to say for sure but this suggests they have entwined business interests. This might be a strategic stake, so it's worth watching this space for changes in ownership.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important.

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.

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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