Google Finance Institutional Ownership Metric is Broken

Institutional ownership refers to the percentage of a company’s shares that is owned by large institutional investors such as mutual funds, hedge funds, pension funds, etc…

Most finance sites that provide stock quotes also track this metric. Based on what I can see, it looks like Google Finance may have a technical issue or two with the data they are showing for this metric.

I’ll provide two examples. The first is VeriFone. According to the Google Finance quote, this company has an institutional ownership of 103%. No need to double check with other finance sites. Already we can see that this is technically impossible (as the highest amount of ownership is by definition 100%).

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The second example is Google. According to the Google Finance quote, this company has an institutional ownership of 66%. Based on my limited knowledge of the stock market, this seemed way too low of a number. So after double-checking with a couple of other sites (Yahoo Finance & Etrade), I’m assured to know this number is actually closer to 83%.

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Most likely the Google Finance Institutionally Owned metric is simply outputting a number it gets from a stock service data feed. It could very well be the case that this feed is what is feeding the site the corrupted information. But either way, this is something that should be fixed.

Google Finance and +1 vs. Yahoo Finance and Facebook Like: A Comparison

In an earlier post, I wrote about the +1 component of a stock in Google Finance. Recently, I noticed that stocks in Yahoo Finance had a similar social component: a module that captured the count of Facebook Likes. So I was curious as to how the counts of +1 in Google Finance compared against the counts of Facebook Likes in Yahoo Finance for a given stock.

In this post, I compare the number of +1s of a stock in Google Finance versus the number of Facebook Likes for a stock in Yahoo Finance for the top twenty US companies as ranked by market capitalization.

Here’s what the +1 module in Google Finance and the Facebook Like module in Yahoo Finance look for an example company, such as Apple (AAPL). (Note: red arrows added by me)

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Here is the data for the top 20 companies:

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The first initial reaction is that, in general, the number of Facebook Likes is higher than the number of Google +1s. One big outlier is Google, and as explained in the earlier post, this is because users who use Google Finance are more likely to be employees of Google or even fans of Google products and thus in both cases more likely to be fans of the stock.

So what was the point of all this? I think that these numbers are a function of two parameters: (1) How effective the respective finance site is at drawing user traffic, and (2) How popular the Google +1 and Facebook Like features are for users who use such finance sites.