Bill Gray
0
All posts from Bill Gray
Bill Gray in Bill Gray,

14 big stocks that should split next

Investors love their stock splits. Hopes are high that video-streamer Netflix (NFLX) will soon announce a split – and make them cool again.

Companies have shied away from doing stock splits for so long – there’s a long list of stocks that would be ripe for one, including biotech Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), paint company Sherwin-Williams (SHW) and Amazon.com (AMZN). Each of these stocks trade above nosebleed levels of $200 a share or more – but are also up 25% or more over the past year showing momentum is working in their favor, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.

Stock splits are maneuvers where a company increases the number of shares outstanding – as a way to lower the per-share stock price. Companies often conduct splits to make the shares appear more palatable to individual investors who might wince at a $200 or higher per-share price.

Here are the S&P 500 stocks that should seriously consider a split (notice Netflix is on there):

S&P 500 STOCKS TRADING FOR $200 A SHARE OR MORE THAT ARE UP 25% OR MORE OVER THE PAST YEAR

CompanySymbol6/10/2015 price1-year % ch.
HumanaHUM$212.4067.9%
Regeneron Pharm.REGN$508.1564.2%
NetflixNFLX$682.6159.4%
O’Reilly AutoORLY$225.5848.6%
ActavisACT$300.1244.7%
Sherwin-WilliamsSHW$280.8637.4%
Intuitive SurgicalISRG$505.4333.9%
CF IndustriesCF$319.6431.6%
Amazon.comAMZN$431.6429.9%
EquinixEQIX$261.5029.5%
Goldman SachsGS$213.1528.1%
AutoZoneAZO$679.7927.7%
McKessonMCK$235.5826.9%
Intercontinental ExchangeICE$239.0525.7%

Sources: S&P Capital IQ, USA TODAYThe economic effect on investors from splits is a net zero – since the dollar value of the shares are cut by the same proportion that shares outstanding are increased. Your position in 100 shares of a stock trading for $200 a share is exactly the same value as a position in 200 shares trading for $100 a share.

Mathematically, splits may be a wash. But there appears to be a psychological reason investors like them so much. Shares of the seven companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 that have split their shares over the past year are up an average of 7% since their splits. That edges out the 5% gain by the S&P 500 during the same time periods. And five of the seven stocks that split beat the S&P 500. Now you can see why investors like them so much.

S&P 500 STOCKS THAT HAVE SPLIT SHARES THE PAST 12 MONTHS

CompanySymbol% Ch. from split %S&P ch. % from split
AmphernolAPH16.3%9.2%
CelgeneCELG29.7%7.5%
Discovery Comm.DISCA-19.7%9.7%
HanesbrandsHBI2.1%-0.1%
StarbucksSBUX10.6%1.2%
TorchmarkTMK5.9%6.7%
VisaV3.9%0.8%

Sources: S&P Capital IQ, USA TODAY

But while investors love stock splits – and the stocks tend to outperform – companies have been shying away from them since the late 2000s. Splits fell out of favor during the period as there was instead a sort of prestige having a high share price, says Jon Johnson of StockSplits.net. The anti-split era reached a peak as Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) raced to have the highest per-share prices.

Chart source: S&P Capital IQ via Microsoft Excel

But since then – both companies have split their shares. Johnson expects Netflix to be next. Once that happens, expect more companies to follow. “Now that the ice has been broken, more companies will split,” he says.

Source: usatoday.com