The Psychology of a Stock Split

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  #1  
Old 09-03-2021, 09:06 AM
Boomer Boomer is offline
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Default The Psychology of a Stock Split

Before anyone starts explaining to me that a stock split does not mean the stock you own is worth more, and that a split means only that you have more shares at half (or whatever the ratio is) of the pre-split price, I know that.

But there is a psychology to a stock split. Stock splits can let in the small, individual investor and stock splits can be educational.

Apple’s 4-for-1 split, in 2020, has been followed by its 52-week range of $103.10–154.72, closing yesterday at $153.54. Apple dropped, at first, after its split.

Procter and Gamble (a behemoth that has been belching out dividends for 131 years and increasing those dividends for 65 consecutive years, with the most recent dividend increase at 10%) has not split since 2004.

PG’s most recent 10% dividend increase probably included a bow to the bears. Every time I see those ads, I cannot help but think of how those highly paid PG advertising people hit upon using bears in those ads. I don’t really know why bears -- I can guess though. . .but I digress. . .back to stock splits. . .

PG is not known to take the investor on a rocket ride. I have casually observed that it tends to bubble around in about a $5 range and then decides to go on to hang out in the next $5 range – but my observation is casual, certainly not professional and could no doubt be argued by somebody with a formula or whatever. But I don’t obsess about it. I just keep thinking PG needs to split again. The share price is higher than it has ever been. But they don’t ask me. (sigh)

I just read that GE is doing a reverse stock split. I had never heard of such a thing. The collapse of GE stock was sad to see. It was once a boring, old, dependable investment. I can remember a 3-for-1 split years ago when its times were good. But then came the dividend cuts, etc., etc., etc.

And, now, GE has announced this reverse stock split thing. My first reaction was that a reverse stock split seems analogous to a codpiece -- like men wore in the time of Shakespeare.

Back to the psychology of a stock split -- that companies used to do more often when the stock price had been increasing for a while. . .

When a share price comes down due to a split, it can be a good time to jump in as an individual investor – if you are comfortable with owning the company because you understand what they do, and how and why they do it, and whether the future of the company looks solid. . .

And when a stock splits, it could be a good time to buy a few shares for a child or grandchild so they can watch and learn about this thing called the stock market.

I have read that stocks are not splitting like they used to because companies find a higher stock price to be prestigious. I have also read that the finance industry leaves the small, individual investors out because – who needs ‘em.

Perhaps the logistics of stock splits are expensive to a company and they do not have to do it anymore because investing styles have changed so much. . .

Investing styles have changed a lot this century. There are fewer investors who like to choose their own stocks. Index investing is very popular. Financial advisors are everywhere now. The internet has given us the chance to do our own thing, but making stock choices is not for everybody. The days of squinting at the print in the daily newspaper, and watching stock prices roll across the screen on the evening news, and paying a broker are long gone, so. . .

Maybe stock splits don’t happen as much because investing styles have changed so much. Who knows.

But getting back to that thing I have about stocks as an educational tool for younger family members, one of Warren Buffett’s famous quotes applies. . .

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Boomer (who is not a financial professional and could be just some retired high school teacher who thinks about stock stuff)
  #2  
Old 09-03-2021, 09:34 AM
OrangeBlossomBaby OrangeBlossomBaby is offline
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I've had Intel since 1990. The stock split 5 times so far since I acquired the shares. Each was a 2:1 split. Starting price for my stock was around $35 per share. Current price is just under $60 per share. But it's split 5 times, so I own a lot more shares than I previously did, and the dividends are re-invested to buy more shares.

I only had 10 shares to start with, so this isn't a "lot" of money. But if it doubles and splits again, I might be able to squeeze out a check large enough to buy a new car in 2 years when my social security checks kick in.

I had Connecticut Water Company stock, but the company was sold, and the buyer chose to become 100% owners. So I had to cash out. That was the downpayment on our home here in the Villages.

I also had a few Israeli bonds, which I cashed in several years ago because they weren't earning any interest anymore anyway.

My grandmother offered all the grandkids their choice of EuroDisney shares or $5000 cash, when ED first went public. I'm the only one who picked the cash. That stock went kaputz shortly thereafter, and I had a new bicycle, stereo system, and a few thousand to pad my savings account.

I had Lane Bryant shares, but then it went out of business and I didn't even know I had the shares, so never tried to cash them in. I am now the proud owner of a worthless stock certificate. At the time I should have made the decision, the stock was worth around $100/share. My grandmother I believe paid less than $20/share for it.

That was how she used invest in us grandkids. She'd buy stock in our names, and we'd get the certificates for our birthdays, along with a modest cash present we could spend on whatever we wanted.

Intel is the only stock among the bunch that has given me a really good return, with all the splits. Water company split once, which was nice, and what she paid around $2/share for, was worth $70 when I had to cash out.
  #3  
Old 09-03-2021, 10:09 AM
lkagele lkagele is offline
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Stocks split for various reasons. A quick search came up with this.

Increased number of shares brings the share price down; the company can control the market share price without any bad signaling effect.
A stock split brings the share prices down that make it more convenient for common investors to buy the shares.
In the long term, the share prices tend to increase generally which helps stabilize the market value of the shares.
A lowered share price attracts more investors and hence enables the company to sell more shares and capitalize on liquid cash.
A stock split may happen to satisfy existing shareholders, if the company is short of cash and instead of dividends the management may announce bonus shares in the form of a stock split.

If you do further research, you'll probably find 25 more reasons.

If, as most do, you purchase a dollar amount of a certain stock rather than a certain number of shares, it makes little difference. $5K will buy roughly 1.5 shares of Amazon or 41 shares of PG. Number of shares doesn't matter. If both go up 10%, your gain is the same.
  #4  
Old 09-03-2021, 10:54 AM
CoachKandSportsguy CoachKandSportsguy is offline
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Ah, reverse splits. .. a friend of mine worked at the GE hqs in accounting, and would relate to me the issues with their accounting. He was let go due to finding too many negative issues in the accounting, forcing restatements for errors in accounting treatments.
Yes, they were cooking the books to keep the stock price up until the house of cards collapsed. The type of accounting is easy to manipulate for revenue, as service revenue under certain revenue recognition methods are highly subjective. Not the same as with product revenue where a unit sold has a price on the transaction.

So many mutual funds have limitations of the minimum dollar price for a stock to be purchased, as if the price per share indicates the quality of the stock. It does in a general sense, but there are always exceptions. Therefore when former blue chip companies collapse, they often have to perform reverse splits to maintain certain investability, as well as to minimize dividend cash flow hits with a minimum dividend. Maintaining a dividend has certain investment quality assigned, but if you look at large cap history,very few companies remain in the Dow Jones and the SP500 forever, as they lose to innovation, and make mistakes whereby competitors take advantage and surpass them.

Also, you might believe the fallacy of stock buybacks, and if you want to understand the fallacy, as I have been a beneficiary of them, you can search on my user name and find my explanation of how stock buy backs is really mgmt personally getting their hands on the cash within the company without paying any taxes. . . there are examples of very large blue chip companies have executives looting the cash balances through the stock buyback executive incentive programs with stock grants. . .

So you won't find these explanations from supporters of corporations and their plans, but you will from certain very critical of certain leaders with very credible evidence. . . there are also some finance theories which make sense, but are also abused in reality, as well as don't scale well from theory to reality.

finance guy
  #5  
Old 09-03-2021, 04:43 PM
coralway coralway is offline
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Very much like the concept of splitting to bring new, and presumably younger, investors into the market and increase liquidity. As a kid back in 1986, I was walking past a Computer Factory store one day in NYC and in the window seeing a little machine there playing a game of ping. Thought it was pretty cool, had never seen anything like it. I had seen an IBM machine that ran DOS, the firm I worked for was buying them and putting one in our offices. But, I was kinda liking this little machine I saw in the window at Computer Factory playing games. So, I walked in, and a little while later walked out with an Apple IIe, disk drive, cable and monitor. On a whim, a few days later I logged onto my Fidelity Brokerage account and purchased 200 shares of Apple stock, at a price of $2.86 a share. The entire investment cost me $578.95. The stock split in 1987, 2000, 2005, 2014, and 2020. I have never sold a single share and, needless to say, it has been very good to me. The splits lowered the price per share, but brought more buyers into the market, that drove up the price again. Nowadays, you can buy fractional shares of a security, a feature not available just a few years ago. Again, it increases market liquidity, and that's the point.
  #6  
Old 09-03-2021, 05:37 PM
Caymus Caymus is offline
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Splits were more important years ago when odd lot differentials were charged. Investors wanted to buy 100 share lots to save the 1/8 point.
  #7  
Old 09-03-2021, 10:59 PM
Boomer Boomer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeBlossomBaby View Post
I've had Intel since 1990. The stock split 5 times so far since I acquired the shares. Each was a 2:1 split. Starting price for my stock was around $35 per share. Current price is just under $60 per share. But it's split 5 times, so I own a lot more shares than I previously did, and the dividends are re-invested to buy more shares.

I only had 10 shares to start with, so this isn't a "lot" of money. But if it doubles and splits again, I might be able to squeeze out a check large enough to buy a new car in 2 years when my social security checks kick in.

I had Connecticut Water Company stock, but the company was sold, and the buyer chose to become 100% owners. So I had to cash out. That was the downpayment on our home here in the Villages.

I also had a few Israeli bonds, which I cashed in several years ago because they weren't earning any interest anymore anyway.

My grandmother offered all the grandkids their choice of EuroDisney shares or $5000 cash, when ED first went public. I'm the only one who picked the cash. That stock went kaputz shortly thereafter, and I had a new bicycle, stereo system, and a few thousand to pad my savings account.

I had Lane Bryant shares, but then it went out of business and I didn't even know I had the shares, so never tried to cash them in. I am now the proud owner of a worthless stock certificate. At the time I should have made the decision, the stock was worth around $100/share. My grandmother I believe paid less than $20/share for it.

That was how she used invest in us grandkids. She'd buy stock in our names, and we'd get the certificates for our birthdays, along with a modest cash present we could spend on whatever we wanted.

Intel is the only stock among the bunch that has given me a really good return, with all the splits. Water company split once, which was nice, and what she paid around $2/share for, was worth $70 when I had to cash out.

OBB,

That is interesting about your grandmother educating her grandchildren about stocks. Experience is the best teacher.

She gave you the experience of owning stock when you were still a kid, and that got your attention and gave you a level of understanding of how stocks work.

You have had the experience of winning. You have had the experience of losing. You have learned things about yourself -- where money is concerned. You have been able to use the experience your grandmother gave you for all this time and you will continue to use it. Good for her. And good for you. Those stock certificates were much better for the future you than a Barbie Doll would have been.

I like the way you categorize or compartmentalize what each stock can do to for you -- this-got-that or this-will-get-that. (houses, cars, savings, income, etc.)

I do the same thing. . .

We can marry stocks. We can date stocks. I have done both. It just depends on what the goal is for each one.

Boomer

Last edited by Boomer; 09-03-2021 at 11:16 PM.
  #8  
Old 09-03-2021, 11:15 PM
Boomer Boomer is offline
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Originally Posted by coralway View Post
Very much like the concept of splitting to bring new, and presumably younger, investors into the market and increase liquidity. As a kid back in 1986, I was walking past a Computer Factory store one day in NYC and in the window seeing a little machine there playing a game of ping. Thought it was pretty cool, had never seen anything like it. I had seen an IBM machine that ran DOS, the firm I worked for was buying them and putting one in our offices. But, I was kinda liking this little machine I saw in the window at Computer Factory playing games. So, I walked in, and a little while later walked out with an Apple IIe, disk drive, cable and monitor. On a whim, a few days later I logged onto my Fidelity Brokerage account and purchased 200 shares of Apple stock, at a price of $2.86 a share. The entire investment cost me $578.95. The stock split in 1987, 2000, 2005, 2014, and 2020. I have never sold a single share and, needless to say, it has been very good to me. The splits lowered the price per share, but brought more buyers into the market, that drove up the price again. Nowadays, you can buy fractional shares of a security, a feature not available just a few years ago. Again, it increases market liquidity, and that's the point.

I like splits, too. They hold such promise. And, like you, I think it is important to get new and younger investors interested. A three digit share price can be intimidating to someone trying to learn and wanting to jump in.

Luv your Apple story. That is one to tell your grandchildren someday -- maybe even transfer a share along with the story.

Boomer
  #9  
Old 09-04-2021, 04:54 AM
thevillages2013 thevillages2013 is offline
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That GE reverse stock split happened about a month ago. 8 shares turned to 1 share. It is a stock that I watch and I did a double take when I got up one morning and it was trading pre-market at over $100 a share after closing around $13
  #10  
Old 09-04-2021, 06:31 AM
Luggage Luggage is offline
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Ge, knew it was a loser when welch started going on talk shows touting himself and how good he was with sigma 5 etc. Well he was the only good one has he made a lot of money for himself but not for investors. They're a whole business has crashed and burned excluding airline engines
  #11  
Old 09-04-2021, 08:11 AM
Boomer Boomer is offline
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That GE reverse stock split happened about a month ago. 8 shares turned to 1 share. It is a stock that I watch and I did a double take when I got up one morning and it was trading pre-market at over $100 a share after closing around $13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luggage View Post
Ge, knew it was a loser when welch started going on talk shows touting himself and how good he was with sigma 5 etc. Well he was the only good one has he made a lot of money for himself but not for investors. They're a whole business has crashed and burned excluding airline engines

I had never heard of a reverse split until I ran across the 1-for-8 that GE did recently. My grasp of the market is untrained and limited. But a reverse split sure looks like smoke and mirrors to me, a desperate move.

GE was founded in 1892, in Schenectady, NY. In my hometown, GE there was one of the companies that was the place to work. (GE & PG had always been the places to be.) What happened to GE under bad leadership was awful. It also illustrates how important it is to keep an eye on individual stocks you own, no matter how old and established the company is.

Jeff Immelt started as CEO at GE in 2001 and got outa Dodge in 2017 — with his 200 million in retirement pay. (I wonder if that 200 million was in GE stock.)

Now, Immelt has written a book, Hot Seat: What I Learned Leading a Great American Company. . .What a smarmy title — sure, he led it — right off a cliff.

There is an interview done with with Immelt, in February, on CNBC. If interested, you can find it with a Google. It is a part of CNBC’s Behind the Desk series. The interview leads with “Former GE CEO Jeff Immelt on his controversial legacy: ‘I don’t want to hide.’ “ (Geez. Maybe he should.)

Boomer
  #12  
Old 09-04-2021, 09:52 AM
OrangeBlossomBaby OrangeBlossomBaby is offline
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OBB,

That is interesting about your grandmother educating her grandchildren about stocks. Experience is the best teacher.

She gave you the experience of owning stock when you were still a kid, and that got your attention and gave you a level of understanding of how stocks work.

You have had the experience of winning. You have had the experience of losing. You have learned things about yourself -- where money is concerned. You have been able to use the experience your grandmother gave you for all this time and you will continue to use it. Good for her. And good for you. Those stock certificates were much better for the future you than a Barbie Doll would have been.

I like the way you categorize or compartmentalize what each stock can do to for you -- this-got-that or this-will-get-that. (houses, cars, savings, income, etc.)

I do the same thing. . .

We can marry stocks. We can date stocks. I have done both. It just depends on what the goal is for each one.

Boomer
I get a kick out of watching my Intel a few times every year, or when the company makes the news. But yes my grandmother was a financial genius. She and my grandfather lived in near-poverty while he was finishing dental school. He came from a family of 11 kids, several of whom were dead by the time he was old enough for college. The remaining siblings all chipped in to cover his tuition; he was the first to graduate from a college in this country (his parents were immigrants).

Every cent Papa earned, was immediately turned over to Gogi (my grandmother). She pinched pennies like a boss. Papa was a dentist during the depression and would receive chickens (sometimes alive, mostly butchered), tree-trimming, car repair, etc. in trade because people in his town couldn't afford to pay for him to treat an abscessed tooth. So they didn't have a lot of money. What they had, Gogi would save, and then invest.

By the time they had both passed, over a million dollars in investments, insurance, and other assets, was split between her three children, 6 grandchildren, and several charities including a sizeable donation to Tufts medical school, where he received his doctorate.

So we grew up - not wealthy, but understanding wealth, understanding what it means to have, and to not have, money. It is part of our family history and heritage to appreciate it, even if we don't end up working in the financial world or doing investments of our own.
  #13  
Old 09-04-2021, 11:16 AM
jimjamuser jimjamuser is offline
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Originally Posted by CoachKandSportsguy View Post
Ah, reverse splits. .. a friend of mine worked at the GE hqs in accounting, and would relate to me the issues with their accounting. He was let go due to finding too many negative issues in the accounting, forcing restatements for errors in accounting treatments.
Yes, they were cooking the books to keep the stock price up until the house of cards collapsed. The type of accounting is easy to manipulate for revenue, as service revenue under certain revenue recognition methods are highly subjective. Not the same as with product revenue where a unit sold has a price on the transaction.

So many mutual funds have limitations of the minimum dollar price for a stock to be purchased, as if the price per share indicates the quality of the stock. It does in a general sense, but there are always exceptions. Therefore when former blue chip companies collapse, they often have to perform reverse splits to maintain certain investability, as well as to minimize dividend cash flow hits with a minimum dividend. Maintaining a dividend has certain investment quality assigned, but if you look at large cap history,very few companies remain in the Dow Jones and the SP500 forever, as they lose to innovation, and make mistakes whereby competitors take advantage and surpass them.

Also, you might believe the fallacy of stock buybacks, and if you want to understand the fallacy, as I have been a beneficiary of them, you can search on my user name and find my explanation of how stock buy backs is really mgmt personally getting their hands on the cash within the company without paying any taxes. . . there are examples of very large blue chip companies have executives looting the cash balances through the stock buyback executive incentive programs with stock grants. . .

So you won't find these explanations from supporters of corporations and their plans, but you will from certain very critical of certain leaders with very credible evidence. . . there are also some finance theories which make sense, but are also abused in reality, as well as don't scale well from theory to reality.

finance guy
Speaking of GE..........I ALWAYS HATED Jack Welsh. He was making $350 Million per year, many years ago. I thought to myself, that no human is worth that much money. GE stock seemed to me to stay the same for all the years that I owned some and Welsh was CEO. So, TO ME, he was worthless. I remember around that time, Welsh wrote a book that ALL the "would-be-Welshs" were raving about and having nocturnal sexual fantasies about - strange times, right out of the "Greed is Good" playbook. I also HATE COLLEGE FOOTBALL coaches the make 6 million today per year.

Speaking of the psychology of stock splits......you have the answer right there (and I know that you are aware of it) - psychology.......small UNINFORMED (in stock market knowledge) investors that inherited money like to think (even though not true) that the greater NUMBER of shares that they have the BETTER OFF they are. They feel that 10 shares at $10 are better than ONLY one share at $100. AND even the UNSOPHISTICATED investor often knows that for some reason (magic gremlins) that stock splits magically cause the stock price to rise.

Today's market IS kinda strange. There has been no real cycle downward in a long time, so evaluations have levitated and avoided gravity and reality. I have not been following either GE or the market lately. I moved to ETFs and bonds and stopped watching Wall Street Week or any business TV. So, the last time I saw GE mentioned, it was moving rapidly toward ZERO. Then, they did that reverse split and, I believe, hired another new CEO and it has come back. I am really guessing there. I remember back to OLD GE and WELSH - he did a longitudinal business integration rather than a VERTICAL integration ( which makes more sense to me). Welsh's longitudinal business got GE into far-flung and stupid businesses just to satisfy the huge EGO and AMBITION of said Jack Welsh. BIG MISTAKE by Welsh and GE - no wonder they then had to COOK the books. Post stupid Welsh, GE had to sell off all their longitudinal LOSER businesses and began their slow march toward stock price OBLIVION. Now if you want that WONDERFUL book by the LEGENDARY Jack Welsh - you can go to any THRIFT STORE and buy 3 of them for ONE DOLLAR. And so, another legend bites the dust!!!!!!!!!!
  #14  
Old 09-04-2021, 11:31 AM
jimjamuser jimjamuser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachKandSportsguy View Post
Ah, reverse splits. .. a friend of mine worked at the GE hqs in accounting, and would relate to me the issues with their accounting. He was let go due to finding too many negative issues in the accounting, forcing restatements for errors in accounting treatments.
Yes, they were cooking the books to keep the stock price up until the house of cards collapsed. The type of accounting is easy to manipulate for revenue, as service revenue under certain revenue recognition methods are highly subjective. Not the same as with product revenue where a unit sold has a price on the transaction.

So many mutual funds have limitations of the minimum dollar price for a stock to be purchased, as if the price per share indicates the quality of the stock. It does in a general sense, but there are always exceptions. Therefore when former blue chip companies collapse, they often have to perform reverse splits to maintain certain investability, as well as to minimize dividend cash flow hits with a minimum dividend. Maintaining a dividend has certain investment quality assigned, but if you look at large cap history,very few companies remain in the Dow Jones and the SP500 forever, as they lose to innovation, and make mistakes whereby competitors take advantage and surpass them.

Also, you might believe the fallacy of stock buybacks, and if you want to understand the fallacy, as I have been a beneficiary of them, you can search on my user name and find my explanation of how stock buy backs is really mgmt personally getting their hands on the cash within the company without paying any taxes. . . there are examples of very large blue chip companies have executives looting the cash balances through the stock buyback executive incentive programs with stock grants. . .

So you won't find these explanations from supporters of corporations and their plans, but you will from certain very critical of certain leaders with very credible evidence. . . there are also some finance theories which make sense, but are also abused in reality, as well as don't scale well from theory to reality.

finance guy
People have said that about me - that he "doesn't scale well from theory to reality"! Nevertheless, I was EXTREMELY impressed with the GREAT information in your thoughtful, thought-provoking post. Double KUDOS for that one!
  #15  
Old 09-04-2021, 12:00 PM
jimjamuser jimjamuser is offline
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Originally Posted by Boomer View Post
I like splits, too. They hold such promise. And, like you, I think it is important to get new and younger investors interested. A three digit share price can be intimidating to someone trying to learn and wanting to jump in.

Luv your Apple story. That is one to tell your grandchildren someday -- maybe even transfer a share along with the story.

Boomer
I feel that many individual stocks like Apple are "long in the tooth" and as such are UNLIKELY to beat the ETF for the NASDAQ (the QQQ) on a long-term basis. Incidentally, a few years ago, I would attend the Villages Stock Club meetings. They were VERY interesting, but I lost my keen edge for increased knowledge about stocks and I stopped attending. They (or maybe it was just one guy) had developed their own "SYSTEM" for stock picking, I wonder how that has kept working? The club was excellent, just like many other clubs and organizations in TV Land!
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