Due to the sheer of amount of wealth held by institutional investors such as mutual funds, pension funds, hedge funds and private equity firms, these groups spend more money and time hunting down the best-performing stocks than any investor ever could. Thus, most investors view stocks with high institutional ownership as a huge plus.

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Like most investors, institutional investors are only interested in generating high returns. However, thanks to the large blocks of shares they own, they are often able to exert some pressure on a company's management team. In some cases, institutional owners may even become activist shareholders and introduce measures to further increase value. Therefore, having institutional institutional investors on your side can be a big plus. (For related reading, see
The Pros And Cons Of Institutional Ownership.)

Here are four big names that have a high degree of institutional ownership:





Company


Institutional Ownership (%)


Market Cap (Billions)


Manpower(NYSE:MAN)


97.94%


4.14B


Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM)


96.62%


3.34B


Safeway(NYSE:SWY)


96.07%


8.13B


Nike (NYSE:NKE)


89.61%


38.58B



The Bottom Line
Institutional investors are known as the "smart money". When these high-rollers favor a stock, riding on their coattails can be a great way to get in on a winner. At the very least, savvy investors should be aware of what the most influential investors are buying now.

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Tickers in this Article: MAN, WSM, NKE, SWY

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