Amazon shares rise 5% in initial surge after first stock split in more than two decades

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Amazon at less than $130 a share? No, the market hasn’t completely cratered — today is the first day of trading after the company’s 20-for-1 stock split, approved by shareholders at Amazon’s recent annual meeting.

It’s the first stock split for Amazon since before the dot-com bust. Theoretically, the split doesn’t impact overall value, boosting the shares outstanding while reducing the value of individual shares. As Bloomberg’s Jeran Wittenstein puts it, it’s like trading a $20 bill for two $10s, although in this case, it’s actually trading a $20 bill for 20 one-dollar bills

However, Amazon shares initially rose more than 5% after the split Monday to nearly $129, in part due to demand from retail investors who can afford individual shares now at the lower price.

Announcing the stock split in March, Amazon said the move would “give our employees more flexibility in how they manage their equity in Amazon and make the share price more accessible for people looking to invest in the company.”

Amazon was previously trading at more than $2,440 per share.

The company has split its stock three times before, all of them in the late 1990s: a 2-for-1 split in June 1998; a 3-for-1 split in January 1999; and a 2-for-1 split in September 1999.

This latest split follows an eventful couple of weeks for the company, including the news Friday that Amazon Consumer CEO Dave Clark will be leaving the company, and a series of tight votes on a record number of shareholder proposals at the annual meeting, indicating an undercurrent of opposition to the board and management.

Amazon’s market value is hovering around $1.3 trillion.

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Google parent Alphabet is next up. Its stock split is scheduled to take effect in July.

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