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Meta’s 450% surge offers potential for next big tech stock split

In World
June 11, 2024

(Bloomberg) — An uptick in the number of companies enacting stock splits this year has Wall Street looking at who could be next — with some analysts pointing to Meta Platforms Inc.

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Meta is the only stock in the so-called Magnificent Seven that hasn’t ever split shares. And, though the stock is off all-time highs hit in April, it’s up more than 450% from a 2022 trough.

Trading at more than $500 a share, “Meta is ripe for a split,” said Ken Mahoney, president of Mahoney Asset Management, referring to what’s seen as a key level for investors. The stock has benefited from appetite for AI exposure, buybacks and the introduction of a dividend in the past year.

Splitting shares doesn’t change underlying fundamentals for a company, but does lower the price per share. This can make a stock more appealing for smaller retail investors and employees, who may otherwise be deterred by high share prices. It could also make top technology stocks more likely candidates for potential inclusion in the price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average — currently, no stock in the index trades above $500 a share.

The practice is back in focus after Nvidia Corp. shares started trading on a split-adjusted basis Monday, following its announcement of a 10-for-1 split in May — with the stock up 28% since then. The artificial intelligence company is the sixth member of the S&P 500 to announce a stock split this year, up from four in 2023.

Analysts at Bank of America think it’s a sign of more to come in the technology sector. Nvidia’s split marks the fourth Magnificent Seven company to make such a move since 2022 — the others are Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Tesla Inc. — and Apple Inc. did its own share split a few years earlier, in 2020.

Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during Meta Connect event at Meta headquarters in Menlo Park, California on September 27, 2023. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (JOSH EDELSON / AFP via Getty Images) (JOSH EDELSON via Getty Images)

Bank of America recently identified potential candidates for stock splits including technology companies such Broadcom Inc., Lam Research Corp., Super Micro Computer Inc., KLA Corp. and Netflix Inc. The analysts also noted that Microsoft Inc., though not near $500 a share, could be poised for a stock split as it hasn’t done one in more than two decades.

To be sure, splitting shares doesn’t guarantee outperformance; some 30% of stocks that split shares saw negative returns 12 months later, according to Bank of America. In addition, an analysis from Trivariate Research found that megacap companies that split shares had mixed results in the next year, highlighting slumps in Tesla after its most recent split and Nike Inc. after its 2015 split.

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