When it comes to investing, going with the crowd will rarely -- if ever -- make you rich. If your objective is to buy low and sell high, then, in the words of Warren Buffett, you must be "greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy." This is the foundation of contrarian investing.
But there's a twist. To be a contrarian investor, you must first know what to be contrary to. And this is where the SEC's invaluable EDGAR database comes in. Every quarter, companies and large institutional investors are required to disclose their equity holdings. By patching these together, we can get a fuller picture of a particular stock's popularity.
What follows, in turn, is a look at the principal owners of ARMOUR Residential's (NYSE:ARR) outstanding common stock.
A broad overview
As you can see in the following chart, the majority of ARMOUR's 374 million shares are held by retail investors. Company insiders, including board members and corporate executives, own a further 3.5% of the outstanding common stock. And institutional investors own the remaining 25%.
Digging in a bit further, the largest institutional stake holders in ARMOUR are asset managers. Bond giant BlackRock tops the list at 6.2% ownership, followed by The Vanguard Group at 3.4%, and the asset management arm of State Street comes in third with a 1.5% stake.
The largest buyers have been BlackRock and Robeco Group, which have recently acquired 2.4 million and 1.2 million shares of common stock, respectively. Meanwhile, the two largest sellers of late have been SAB Capital Management and Corvex Management, which have disposed of 7.1 million and 3.5 million shares, respectively.
Turning to inside investors, far and away the largest inside owner is Scott Bommer, the founder of SAB Capital Management, with 12.3 million shares. The second largest holder is chairman Daniel Staton II, with 212,008 shares. And in third place is board member Thomas Guba, with 203,321 shares.
The Foolish bottom line
While insider and institutional ownership together represent only one metric, it's nevertheless an important one. Beyond hinting at the overall market's sentiment toward a stock, it also gives investors insight into the confidence of the people best positioned to predict a company's current state and future success.