Great week for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) institutional investors after losing 22% over the previous year

To get a sense of who is truly in control of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. We can see that institutions own the lion’s share in the company with 54% ownership. Put another way, the group faces the maximum upside potential (or downside risk).

After a year of 22% losses, last week’s 4.0% gain would be welcomed by institutional investors as a likely sign that returns might start trending higher.

Let’s delve deeper into each type of owner of Apple, beginning with the chart below.

View our latest analysis for Apple

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What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Apple?

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.

Apple already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. 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. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Apple, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

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Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Hedge funds don’t have many shares in Apple. The Vanguard Group, Inc. is currently the company’s largest shareholder with 8.0% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 6.4% and 5.6% of the 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.

While studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock’s expected performance. 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 Apple

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. 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 information suggests that Apple Inc. insiders own under 1% of the company. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$1.4b of stock. 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– including retail investors — own 41% stake in the company, and hence can’t easily be ignored. 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.

Public Company Ownership

It appears to us that public companies own 5.6% of Apple. This may be a strategic interest and the two companies may have related business interests. It could be that they have de-merged. This holding is probably worth investigating further.

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. For example, we’ve discovered 2 warning signs for Apple that you should be aware of before investing here.

If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its 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.

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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