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The Short Answer

Dig Deeper into Stock Ownership Stats

Our new Shareholders tab has a wealth of data about who owns any given stock.

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At Morningstar, we've always tried to make it easy to find out which stocks and bonds a given mutual fund holds in its portfolio. But what if you want to find out which mutual funds own a given stock? We've sometimes examined this question on an ad hoc basis for certain stocks. For example, at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008, we looked at which funds had the biggest stakes in some of the most troubled financial stocks, and over the past two years we've regularly examined funds with the biggest holdings in stocks, industries, or sectors that have been in the news. (See here and here for recent examples.)

For a number of years, it has been possible to find out some of this information for any given stock on Morningstar.com. Until recently, though, this information was difficult to find, hidden away in a tab called Insider Trading. Recently, as part of our overhaul of how fund and stock information is presented on the site, we've introduced the Shareholders tab, which provides an expanded overview of the funds and institutions that own virtually any stock in our database.

The Big Picture
To find this information, first type a stock's name or ticker into the search box at the top of Morningstar.com. This will bring you to the fund's Quote page, which we also recently overhauled (as described here). Then click on the Shareholders tab, in the right half of the band between the stock's name and its quote information. This will bring you to the stock's Shareholders' Overview page, which provides a big-picture summary of who owns that stock.

Suppose you're interested in finding out which funds and institutions own  Amazon.com (AMZN), which has been red-hot in the recent market rally. In the upper left corner of Amazon's Shareholders' Overview page is a pie chart showing the relative amount of equity and debt on Amazon's balance sheet, and next to that is a breakdown of how much of the stock's market value is owned by institutions, mutual funds (which are a subset of institutions), and company insiders. In Amazon's case, a little more than $29 billion is owned by institutions, $17.5 billion by mutual funds, and almost $13 billion by company insiders. Because Amazon's market cap was $58 billion as of November 16 (a figure you can find on its Quote page), that suggests that about half of Amazon is owned by institutions, including 30% by mutual funds, and that nearly a fourth of the company is owned by insiders. (Those figures are only approximate, as the ownership figures come from quarterly filings and are thus at least several weeks old.)

Breaking It Down
Below that is a table breaking down the activity of the stock's institutional owners (in the first two columns) and fund owners (in the last two columns) as of the most recent quarter. Here fund companies such as T. Rowe Price and Vanguard each count as a single institution, while each of their funds is counted separately in the funds columns. We can see that in the most recent quarter, 179 fund initiated new positions in Amazon, and 93 sold out of the stock. (All of these figures are as of Nov. 16, 2009; the numbers change constantly as new portfolios go into our database.) There were slightly more funds adding to the stock than trimming it (538 versus 519), though as a group they sold more shares (18 million) than they bought (12 million). The patterns are similar for institutions as a whole, except that they bought more shares than they sold (34 million versus 25 million). For all of these figures, we also show the percentage change from the previous quarter. These show that, while the total number of Amazon shares owned by institutions and funds has not changed much recently, the number of owners buying and selling has increased significantly.

Next is a style-box breakdown of the funds that own Amazon, and whether they've been buying or selling. Not surprisingly, given that Amazon is a large company with a market cap of greater than $50 billion, the great majority of these are large-blend and large-growth funds, with only a smattering of value funds and mid-cap funds (plus one small-growth fund). It's interesting to note that large-growth and mid-cap growth funds have been net sellers of Amazon, while large-value and large-blend funds have been net buyers.

Next comes a table showing the 10 funds that own the most Amazon stock. In addition to the number of shares owned, this table also shows whether the fund has increased or decreased its Amazon stake since the previous portfolio, the percentage of Amazon's total shares it owns, the percentage of the fund's portfolio that is in Amazon, and the date of the portfolio. Not surprisingly for a stock like Amazon, these are all big funds. They include two Vanguard index funds ( Total Stock Market (VTSMX) and  500 Index (VFINX)) and two exchange-traded funds ( PowerShares QQQ (QQQQ) and  SPDRs (SPY)), but also actively managed funds, with  T. Rowe Price Growth Stock (PRGFX) topping the list and  T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth (TRBCX) at number three. The T. Rowe Price funds' ownership stakes in Amazon, as a percentage of their assets, are more significant than is the case for the index funds. By clicking on the Institutions tab to the upper left of the table, you can see the same table for institutional owners. T. Rowe Price Associates tops the list, not surprisingly, given that two of its funds are among the three biggest Amazon owners.

Finally, at the bottom of the overview page is a table comparing the ownership structure of Amazon and three of its competitors:  Best Buy (BBY),  eBay (EBAY), and  Barnes & Noble (BKS). For each stock you can see its market cap, the number of institutional and fund owners, and the percentage owned by institutions, funds, and insiders. The percentages owned by institutions and mutual funds are not too different for these four stocks, though they vary more in the amount owned by insiders.

Digging Deeper
It's also possible to see more detail about which funds and institutions own Amazon. Click on Major Shareholders at the top of the page (just above the Equity Owners chart) and you'll see an expanded version of the ownership table from the Overview page, this one showing the 25 funds with the biggest Amazon stakes (rather than just 10), as well as each fund's star rating. Here, too, you can click on the Institutions tab to see the 25 institutions that hold the most Amazon shares.

Clicking on Concentrated Shareholders at the top brings up a similar table, showing funds with the largest percentage of their assets in Amazon stock. This list includes not only open-end mutual funds, but various other types of portfolios. The top four names on the list include two exchange-traded funds ( Internet HOLDRs (HHH) and  Retail HOLDRs (RTH)) and two variable annuity subaccounts, from JNL/Mellon and Morgan Stanley; there are also some closed-end funds, such as Claymore/Ocean Tomo Growth. If you're just interested in mutual funds, you can look only at funds with a star rating in the last column, as the other types of portfolios aren't assigned star ratings. The mutual fund with the most concentrated stake is  Morgan Stanley Focus Growth (AMOBX), managed by Dennis Lynch and his team, with 8.53% of its portfolio in Amazon, followed by near-clone Morgan Stanley Institutional Focus Growth (MSAGX), with 8.02%; Fidelity Select Retailing (FSRPX) and  White Oak Select Growth (WOGSX) have more than 7% each in the stock. To find out more about any of these funds, click on a name to go to that fund's Quote page, from which you can find its performance record, full portfolio, and much more.

Finally, clicking on the other two tabs near the top of the page allows you to see which shareholders (both mutual funds and institutions) have been buying and selling the most Amazon recently. Among funds,  Hartford Capital Appreciation (ITHAX) (managed by Saul Pannell and Frank Catrickes) and  BlackRock Large Cap Core (MDLRX) (managed by Bob Doll and Daniel Hanson) each bought more than 500,000 Amazon shares in the third quarter, though each still has only a little more than 1% of its portfolio in Amazon. In contrast,  American Funds Growth Fund of America (AGTHX) sold almost its entire stake, 4,755,000 shares, and had only 0.07% of its portfolio in Amazon as of September 30. Several of the other big sellers, such as  Legg Mason ClearBridge Large Cap Growth (SBLGX), still have a substantial percentage of their portfolio in Amazon, suggesting that they still like the stock but have been trimming it, perhaps for valuation reasons.

There's a lot of information on these pages, and for most people it's best used selectively. If you're not sure what to think about a stock, it can be helpful to see whether mutual funds have been collectively buying or selling it. Seeing that mutual funds you know and respect own big stakes, and/or have been buying the stock (as with the Hartford and BlackRock funds buying Amazon), may give you more confidence in it; on the other hand, if funds you respect have been selling it (as with Growth Fund of America selling Amazon), that can also be relevant information. As with all the data we provide, everything here is a tool that needs to be used in context to help you make better investment decisions.

David Kathman does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.