Tags: Stock | splits | Zweig | shares

WSJ's Zweig: Stock Splits on the Wane

By    |   Monday, 09 December 2013 08:57 AM

Stock splits have turned from a common occurrence in the 1990s to a rare occurrence now, according to Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig.

In 2013, only 11 companies on the Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index have split their shares. That's the fourth-lowest total ever and compares with an average of almost 65 a year in the 1990s, according to Howard Silverblatt, a senior analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Why so few splits? A company pays at least a few hundred thousand dollars for one, presumably for administrative costs, experts tell The Journal.

Editor’s Note:
5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . .

"As long as we're in this economic malaise, a lot of [companies] are going to hold their cards and just wait," David DeSonier, head of investor relations at Leggett & Platt, a manufacturer whose stock hasn't split since 1998, tells the paper.

In addition, high-frequency traders that can wreak havoc with shares they holds just for hours or less are attracted by low share prices.

"A lot of companies do think they become high-frequency prey at a lower share price," Ana Avramovic, a trading strategist at Credit Suisse, tells The Journal.

David Milstead of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine notes on Moneyshow.com that "it's not the share price that actually makes a stock expensive. . . . It's actually how much a stock costs in comparison to the earnings that a company produces, expressed on a per share basis."

For example, while Google and Priceline both trade above $1,000, the market expects each of them to generate about $50 in earnings per share, he notes. That means a high, but reasonable price-earnings ratio in the low 20s.

"It's not the fact that these stocks are $1,000 apiece; it's what they cost, in terms of how much earnings power you're actually buying."

Editor’s Note: 5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . .

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Stock splits have turned from a common occurrence in the 1990s to a rare occurrence now, according to Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig.
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2013-57-09
Monday, 09 December 2013 08:57 AM
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