Nvidia’s (NVDA) board has declared a 4 for 1 stock split effective after the close on July 19. Assuming that share holders approve at the company’s June 3 annual meeting. (Gee, you think shareholders would vote against a split?)
The stock is up 4.1% today, May 24, at the close.
Financial experts have long railed against the tendency of stocks to rise in price on a split. Makes no sense to the experts since shareholders don’t actually get anything from a split. If before the split you owned 1 share worth $100, after the split you own 4 shares worth $25 each or still $100.
But splits do, historically, push up the price of a company’s shares. To the degree that there is an explanation, experts admit, it’s because more investors can buy shares of Nvidia at $156 post-split than could buy at $624 before the split.
That explanation is getting a test these days in the face of more and more brokerage firms offering investors a chance to buy partial shares. These days if you have $156 to put into Nvidia, you don’t need to wait for a split. Instead you could just buy a partial share.
On the evidence of today, however, it seems like the old split logic and the tendency of a stock to gain on the announcement of a split still holds.
But Nvidia’s move today isn’t a very good case study since the announcement of the split comes just days before the company is due earnings for the April quarter on Wednesday May 26. Wall Street analysts project that the company will report earnings of $2.62 a share against $1.48 a share a year ago. That would be a 77% jump in earnings year over year. For the recently completed fiscal 2021, the company reported revenue growth of 53% and earnings growth of 73% from fiscal 2020 levels. A 77% year over year earnings growth rate would thus represent a slight increase in earnings growth. That’s exactly the kind of growth story that a growth momentum stock like Nvidia needs to keep moving higher.
It’s quite likely that shares of Nvidia would be climbing in price headed into the earnings report even without the announcement of a stock split.
To me this all raises the possibility that shares will sell off at least a bit on the actual earnings report. After all, what good news isn’t in the stock right now? Nvidia could report earnings that beat expectations, although that’s a tough hurdle to jump, but how much of a positive surprise would the company have to deliver to keep the shares climbing in the short term after Wednesday’s report.
I like shares of Nvidia for the long haul. The stock is a member of my long-term 50 Stocks Portfolio. The shares are up 15.55% since I added it to that portfolio on October 21, 2020.
But if I were to speculate on the very short-term–that is the next week or so–I’d be looking for shares to pull back–not a huge amount but still a noticeable drop–after the news on Wednesday.
The stock is up 72% in the last 12 months.