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Institutional investors may overlook Ovintiv Inc.'s (TSE:OVV) recent CA$1.5b market cap drop as long-term gains remain positive

If you want to know who really controls Ovintiv Inc. (TSE:OVV), then you'll have to look at the makeup of its share registry. And the group that holds the biggest piece of the pie are institutions with 79% ownership. That is, the group stands to benefit the most if the stock rises (or lose the most if there is a downturn).

Institutional investors was the group most impacted after the company's market cap fell to CA$15b last week. However, the 21% one-year return to shareholders may have helped lessen their pain. We would assume however, that they would be on the lookout for weakness in the future.

In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Ovintiv.

See our latest analysis for Ovintiv

ownership-breakdown
ownership-breakdown

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Ovintiv?

Institutions typically measure themselves against a benchmark when reporting to their own investors, so they often become more enthusiastic about a stock once it's included in a major index. We would expect most companies to have some institutions on the register, especially if they are growing.

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Ovintiv 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. 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 Ovintiv's earnings history below. Of course, the future is what really matters.

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

Investors should note that institutions actually own more than half the company, so they can collectively wield significant power. Ovintiv is not owned by hedge funds. Our data shows that The Vanguard Group, Inc. is the largest shareholder with 9.9% of shares outstanding. With 8.9% and 6.1% of the shares outstanding respectively, Dodge & Cox and FMR LLC are the second and third largest shareholders.

After doing some more digging, we found that the top 21 have the combined ownership of 51% in the company, suggesting that no single shareholder has significant control over the company.

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 plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Ovintiv

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. 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.

Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.

Our information suggests that Ovintiv 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 CA$46m 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 20% 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 5 warning signs for Ovintiv (2 can't be ignored) 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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