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Do I check the price at close on Friday and then set up a stop limit order at a quarter of that price? I am trying to figure out how to be ready for when the market opens on Monday morning to get in on purchasing two shares.

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  • The split doesn't change your investment. You can buy X shares (for some X < 1) for $450 now, or by 4X shares on Monday for the same amount of money (normal price fluctuations aside). If you believe the stock-adjusted price will rise dramatically after the market opens on Monday, you should just buy what you can today. If you think it will drop, wait until Monday morning to buy. In other words, invest the same way you would if there were no split imminent. – chepner Aug 27 '20 at 14:02
  • @chepner Not all brokers allow non-whole numbers of stock. – glglgl Aug 27 '20 at 14:06
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    Your stop limit order may not actually do what you want. Do stop orders get triggered by stock splits? – Flux Aug 27 '20 at 14:23
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If you only have $450 to invest, you can't purchase a full lot of 100 shares even after the split, so you're going to find a broker that will trade "odd lots". If that's the case then it doesn't matter if you buy before or after the split.

Say AAPL is trading for $500 at the close on "split day". You could (if your broker supports it) buy 0.9 shares at that time.

The next morning, AAPL will be worth (all else being equal) $125 a share, so you could buy 3.6 shares. Or if you bought the night before, you'll have 3.6 shares worth $125 each.

You're in the exact same position either way. There's no "magic profit" with splits, so if you're buying fractional shares anyway it doesn't matter when you buy.

As a side note, any order you place today will probably be adjusted after the split. So even if you set a limit buy for 1/4 of the price, it should still be for 1/4 of the post-split price.

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  • Would it be fair to say that there could be a sharp rise in the share price Monday morning as people buy up what looks like a much cheaper stock followed by a quick sell-off from people cashing in on said increase? That's the only reason I can think of trying to time an investment. (I realize it's all speculation; I'm just interested in the reasons why people think there's a reason to invest differently in the presence of a split.) – chepner Aug 27 '20 at 14:05
  • @chepner I would hope that people capable of setting up an alert on a sudden price decrease (or even just to be regularly checking stock prices) won't be dumb enough to not realize there's been a stock-split. However... :-) – TripeHound Aug 27 '20 at 14:26
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    D Stanley: All brokers allow the purchase of odd lots (less than 100 shares). If the OP wants to invest his entire $450, he would need to find a broker that offers the ability to trade fractional shares. – Bob Baerker Aug 27 '20 at 14:55
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    Even though there's no merit to it, a lot of people believe that when a stock splits, it's a better buy. The idea being that they missed out on the previous run up in price and they want to participate now that the stock is "cheaper". – Bob Baerker Aug 27 '20 at 14:59
  • @Dev1 - all orders get adjusted or deleted- it’s not possible to accidentally buy or sell for an unintended price. – Aganju Aug 27 '20 at 23:57

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