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3M Company's (NYSE:MMM) latest 3.1% decline adds to one-year losses, institutional investors may consider drastic measures

To get a sense of who is truly in control of 3M Company (NYSE:MMM), 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 68% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

And institutional investors endured the highest losses after the company's share price fell by 3.1% last week. The recent loss, which adds to a one-year loss of 35% for stockholders, may not sit well with this group of investors. Often called “market makers”, institutions wield significant power in influencing the price dynamics of any stock. As a result, if the downtrend continues, institutions may face pressures to sell 3M, which might have negative implications on individual investors.

Let's delve deeper into each type of owner of 3M, beginning with the chart below.

View our latest analysis for 3M

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About 3M?

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.

3M already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in 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. 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 3M, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Institutional investors own over 50% of the company, so together than can probably strongly influence board decisions. We note that hedge funds don't have a meaningful investment in 3M. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc. with 8.6% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 7.8% and 5.9% of the stock.

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.

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

Insider Ownership Of 3M

While the precise definition of an insider can be subjective, almost everyone considers board members to be insiders. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.

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 3M Company. 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$34m 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 32% 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.

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 instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for 3M that you should be aware of.

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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