GameStop Plans 4-For-1 Split
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GameStop Plans 4-For-1 Split

The meme stock saga continues.

By CONNOR SMITH
Thu, Jul 7, 2022 11:39amGrey Clock 2 min

GameStop’s stock split is finally happening.

The company announced plans to split its stock four-for-one later this month, sending shares higher after the market closed on Wednesday. Shareholders of record at the close of business on July 18 will receive three additional shares for every share owned via a stock dividend. The additional shares will be distributed on July 21, and GameStop (ticker: GME) stock will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis on July 22.

GameStop stockholders in June voted in favour of expanding the company’s share authorisation to one billion from 300 million in order to facilitate a split. The company said in March that the higher authorisation would allow it to implement a split and “provide flexibility for future corporate needs.”

Shares of GameStop rose 5% to US$123.25 in after-hours trading even though stock splits don’t make a company more valuable, given that they are akin to cutting a pie into smaller slices. If GameStop split at its recent after-hours levels, it would trade at $30.81.

That is around the US$30 pre-split price target Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter assigns the stock, which he rates at Underperform. “Makes it more affordable for unsuspecting rubes who haven’t yet lost all of their money,” Pachter told Barron’s via email when asked about the split.

The stock has traded as high as $255.69 in the past 12 months, but it is still up significantly from its 2020 levels. Even the potential post-split number is well above where GameStop shares were trading before Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen announced a stake and launched a campaign that kicked off the company’s meme-fueled run in January 2021. GameStop stock has fallen 20% in 2022, compared with a 19% drop for the S&P 500 index.

Cohen became the chairman of GameStop’s board a year ago. The company has added executives and employees with technology, e-commerce, and blockchain backgrounds to help turn things around as the business battles the shift to sales of videogames online rather than in stores.

Following the board and management shake-up, the company invested in fulfilment and customer-care efforts, as well as expanding its offerings to include more computer supplies and TVs. It is also launching a marketplace for nonfungible tokens. Experts, like Pachter, are sceptical such blockchain efforts will benefit the stock.

Reprinted by permission of Barron’s. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: July 7, 2022.



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Is the Stock Market Near Its Top?

Don’t let the hum of the bull tune out signs warning that a bear may be lurking.

By ANDY KESSLER
Mon, Jul 15, 2024 3 min

The third season of the terrific show “The Bear” blends family dysfunction with the ups and downs of high-end restaurants. With markets chasing new highs—get out those Dow 40000 hats—this column is about a different kind of dysfunctional beast. Is the market bear dead, or is it about to sneak up on us?

A U.S. equity strategist told me the story of a Japanese portfolio manager who sat in his office in July 1987 asking for stock ideas. The strategist’s model was based on a proprietary survey of investor sentiment, though it never really worked. Nonetheless, he read off a list of dozens of stocks. The portfolio manager then asked if he would kindly put in an order for 20,000 shares of each. The Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked at 2722 in late August and crashed 22.6% on Oct. 19.

A friend was a portfolio manager of a massive growth-stock fund in 1999. He told me he bought shares of Yahoo, Cisco, F5 Networks, Infosys and others every day because money flowed into his fund every day. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index peaked on March 10, 2000. As money began to flow out, he had to sell every day. By year’s end, Nasdaq had fallen by more than half.

I met Cathie Wood as she was filing papers for her “disruptive innovation” funds—to “change the way the world works.” Her ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund, ARKK, launched in October 2014 and charges 0.75% management fees. In 2020 it was up 153% as stimulus money flew in, driving more buying. ARKK peaked in February 2021 with $28 billion in assets. Since then, its net asset value is down 70%, even amid a roaring bull market, especially in tech. Morningstar recently calculated that Ms. Wood’s Ark Invest funds have destroyed more than $14 billion in wealth. One of my favorite Wall Street sayings is, “Don’t mistake a bull market for brains.”

In almost every bull run, stock momentum lures in investors at the worst moment, I call them momos, ensuring they get burned when the buying stops. Since 2009, excepting a few brief sell-offs, cash has been trash. That made some sense during the era of zero interest rates. But now with higher inflation and short rates above 5%? Confusing. Maybe investors are already anticipating another Donald Trump antiregulation pro-growth presidency, forgetting that he is married to a growth-killing pro-tariff agenda. Is the bear dead, or does it have a long fuse?

Predicting stock markets is a fool’s errand. My Series 7 test for General Securities Representative Qualification lapsed long ago, so you won’t get investment advice from me. But there are warning signs.

Have we run out of buyers? Sometimes there are triggers that scare them away: oil shocks, viruses, bank failures. But sometimes they simply collapse from exhaustion. More than 40% of households reportedly own stocks—a higher percentage than in 2000. It was 20% in 2010. Some market indicators also point to asset managers being fully invested. Who’s left to buy?

Market breadth is concerning. The 1973 market peak was driven by stretched valuations of the Nifty Fifty, which included IBM , Coca-Cola and GE but also Polaroid and Xerox . Fifty? Now it’s the Magnificent Seven: Alphabet , Amazon , Apple , Meta , Microsoft , Nvidia and Tesla . Seven? Artificial-intelligence hype, way ahead of even the rosiest of realities, drove Nvidia to make up almost a third of the S&P 500’s first half gains. Another quarter came from Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and Eli Lilly . Maybe fat bulls need Mounjaro.

Stock values feel divorced from reality. The so-called Warren Buffett indicator—the ratio between total stock-market value and gross domestic product—was 138% in March 2000. It’s now 196%. Certainly not a buy signal. And Bitcoin, my go-to bubblicious bat signal, is down about 20% since March. A dead canary?

“Don’t worry, be happy,” the bulls sing. Inflation is slain, and the Fed will cut rates. But investors won’t like the reason for those cuts. We’re already seeing earnings disasters—Nike, Walgreens , Lululemon , Delta and Wells Fargo . If the economy slows, earnings glitches and stock implosions become contagious. Plus, banks’ exposure to commercial real estate is scary, with buildings being dumped at huge haircuts almost weekly. This is now infecting rental buildings, and there are signs of a private housing glut. Inventory in Denver is up nearly 37%. Sure, markets climb a “wall of worry,” and bull markets tend to last longer than people expect, but sometimes the nightmares are real. Recessions are like honey to bears.

Even writing about the bear is bullish. Bull runs end when everyone is a believer. Still, another favorite saying of mine is, “No one’s ever lost money taking a profit.” Someday, cash will be king again. I prefer to buy stocks when everyone hates them.

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