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Many people who want to support a company will buy its stock on the stock market. If that is their only goal (to make a favored company look better), would that be better achieved by treating it as any other stock (buying low, selling high, etc.) or by just buying up stock and holding onto it?

Asking because of a Ford-loving uncle who refuses to ever sell their stock because 'more supply will lower demand and hurt the company!' I very much doubt his few shares will make a difference one way or the other, but which approach actually does make a company look better? Or are there other options when it comes to supporting a company via the stock market?

Options other than buying during the IPO, that is.

  • He isn't interested in selling, for whatever reason. It doesn't have to be a good reason; they're his shares, not yours. In real practical terms, one average person's holdings are insignificant in terms of stock price or company health, though they might matter slightly more as voting shares in the annual meeting. – keshlam Jan 4 '16 at 22:23
  • My goal wasn't to encourage him to do anything one way or the other, just wondering if 'share collectors' (not sure what to call people like him) have any impact on a shares value compared to people engaging in actual trading. – Thom Grayson Jan 4 '16 at 22:26
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Not sure I fully understand your question but my take on it is this:

There a lot of people out there that admire companies and own the stock just because they like the company. For example, I know some kids who own Disney stock. They only have a share or two but they keep it because they want to say "I own a part of Disney."

Realistically speaking, if they hold or sell the stock it is so minuscule to have any realizable affect on the overall value of the stock which does not really make the company look better from an investor perspective.

However, if a company has people that just want to own the stock just like your uncle are indeed "better" because they must have provided a product or service that is valued intrinsically.

  • So essentially it's a nice gesture, but nothing the average single shareholder can do will increase the value one way or the other. – Thom Grayson Jan 4 '16 at 22:42
  • Well it depends on the number of shares your uncle has. As of October 2015, Ford has 3.96 Billion shares outstanding (quick Google search found this). Even if he has a small amount of shares and if he sells it, it may affect the price in the intraday timeframe and conversely if he buys more. But to make a noticeable increase/decrease requires the entire market or a significant percentage of the 3.96 billion outstanding shares. – NuWin Jan 4 '16 at 22:56
  • Interesting stuff. Makes me think that in some ways such small shareholdings are not dissimilar to facebook "likes" or twitter "followers" of the company. Companies/brands seem to like acquiring "likes" and "followers" (enough to spend significant amounts on doing so), so you'd think they'd value and brag about the number of shareholders too. Certainly having a "broad shareholder base" seems to be generally regarded as a good thing... but it's hard to get a sense of whether companies would rather have say 1 new twitter follower or one new investor with a single share, if they had a choice. – timday Jan 5 '16 at 0:12
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Share prices change (or not) when shares are bought and sold. Unless he's sitting on a large percentage of the total shares, the fact that he isn't selling or buying means he's having no effect ar all on the stock price, and unless there's a vote war going on in the annual meeting his few stockholder votes aren't likely to have much effect there either (though there's always the outside chance of his being a tiebreaker).

On the other hand, there's nothing inherently wrong with holding shares for a very long time and just taking the dividends ("clipping coupons"). Buy-and-hold is a legitimate strategy.

Basically: His reason is wrong, but his action may be right, and you should probably just not ask.

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I have watched the ticker when I have made a transaction. About ¼ of the time my buy (or sell) actually moves the going price. But that price movement is wiped out by other transactions within two (or so) munites.

Is your uncle correct? Yes. Will anyone notice? No.

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